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The Technical Services 



This volume, one of the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, is the 
first to be published in the group of four Corps of Engineers volumes in the subsrxie.s THE 
TECHNICAL SERVICES. All the volumes will be closely related, and the series will 
present a comprehensive account of the activities of the Military Establishment during 
World War II, A tentative list of subseries is appended at the end of this volume. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58-60000 


First Printed 1958-CMH Pub 10-4 

For sale bv the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D C. 20402-Pnce 

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 

Advisory Committee 

(Ai of 30 June 1957) 

Elmer Ellis 
University of 

Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Newman 
U.S. Continental Army 

Samuel Flagg Bern is 
Yale University 

Brig. Gen, Edgar C, Doleman 
Army War College 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Maj. Gen. William F. Train 
Command and General Staff College 

Oron J. Hale 
University of Virginia 

W. Stull Holt 
University of Washington 

Col. Vincent J. Esposito 
ited States Military Academy 

T. Harry Williams 
Louisiana State University 

Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Richard W. Stephens, Chief 
Chief Historian Kent Roberts Greenfield 

Chief, War Histories Division Col. Seneca W. Foote 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division Lt. Col. E. E. Steck 

Chief, Cartographic Branch 
Chief, Photographic Branch 

Joseph R. Friedman 



Construction in the United States 
The War Against Germany 
The War Against Japan 

to Those Who Serve 


The world-wide operations of the U.S. Army in World War II involved an 
enormous amount of construction and the performance on a comparable scale 
of many other missions by the Corps of Engineers. 

This is the first of four volumes that will describe the participation of the 
Engineers in the war and the contribution they made toward winning it. Better 
known to the public in peacetime for its civil works, the Corps by the time of Pearl 
Harbor had turned almost its full attention to military duties. At home the Engi- 
neers took over all military construction, and prepared hundreds of thousands of 
Engineer troops for a variety of tasks overseas. These tasks included not only con- 
struction but also a number of other duties more or less related to engineering both 
in rear areas and in the midst of battle. In performing these duties in World War 
II the Army Engineers gained a proud record in combat as well as in service. This 
first volume tells how the Corps organized and planned and prepared for its tasks, 
and in particular how it trained its troops and obtained its equipment. The volumes 
still to be published will describe the huge program of military construction in the 
United States, and Engineer operations overseas in the European and Pacific areas. 

One of the objectives of the technical service volumes of the Army's World 
War II series is to capture the point of view of the service concerned. In doing so 
the authors of the present history, by thorough research and diligent solicitation 
of assistance, have also brought to their story a broad perspective, and they have 
told it with a felicity that should make their work a valuable guide to the Army 
as a whole, to the thoughtful citizen, and to the Engineers who served and who 
continue to serve the nation in war and in peace. 

Washington, D. C. 
10 July 1957 

Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 


The Authors 

Blanche D. Coll has a Master of Arts degree in history from the Johns Hop- 
kins University and is a collaborating author of Ships for Victory: Shipbuilding 
U nder the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II. She has been on the staff 
of the Historical Division, Office of the Chief of Engineers, since 1948. 

Jean E. Keith, a Bachelor of Arts from Western Kentucky State College, 
has done graduate work in history at the Johns Hopkins University. During 
World War II he served as a gunnery officer on a destroyer in the Pacific. He 
has been with the Engineer Historical Division since 1951. 

Herbert H. Rosenthal obtained his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. 
During World War II he served in Europe with the 95th Infantry Division. He 
was associated with the Engineer Historical Division from 1948 to 1953 and is 
now teaching at Southern Illinois University. 



This volume relates how the traditional tasks of American military engi- 
neers changed and new ones developed in response to the tactical and logistical 
demands of World War II, and how the Corps of Engineers organized, equipped, 
and trained its troops in the United States to carry out these tasks overseas. The 
book is necessarily concerned with machines as well as men because the modern 
Corps which emerged during this period was an organization that increased its 
capacity for work to the fullest extent possible by the adoption of power machinery. 
Dependence upon complicated machines, delicate instruments, and complex 
rather than simple engineering techniques was a natural accompaniment of 
world-wide military trends, but the situation nevertheless challenged those charged 
with plans and preparations to a full display of intelligence and adaptability. 

More than half a million Engineer officers and enlisted men were in the 
armed forces by the spring of 1945, comprising about 8 percent of the Army. 
Most of them were building or rebuilding hangars and barracks and offices at a 
multitude of military bases, laying down or repairing the strips at innumerable 
airfields, and enlarging or improving the endless network of roads and culverts 
and bridges. Some were installing and operating miles of petroleum pipeline. 
Combat engineers were clearing mine fields. Still other engineers were manning 
boats and ships, making maps, purifying water, forging and shaping steel, or run- 
ning sawmills. In all areas of conflict, from battle front to rear bases, with ground 
and air forces, engineer troops were justifying the years of planning and preparation 
at home. 

The day-to-day problems involved in readying engineer troops for such duties 
overseas may have appeared simpler to the participants than to the historians who 
reviewed the whole record later. The files are heavily weighted with the burdens 
of daily frustrations ; successes account for much less space. We have been granted 
complete freedom to evaluate and interpret, and to present a full and frank 

Many persons, both within and without the Corps of Engineers, have helped 
to supplement and clarify the written record. The list is so long indeed that we have 
had to be content in most cases to let the footnotes be our only acknowledgment. 
To those who read and commented upon the entire volume — Maj. Gen. Clarence 
L. Adcock; Col. William W. Bessell, Jr.; Col. William W. Brotherton; Col. Ed- 
ward H. Coe; Brig. Gen. Miles M. Dawson; Col. Joseph S. Gorlinski; Richard M. 
Leighton; Lt. Col. David M. Matheson; Lt. Gen. Eugene Reybold; Maj. Gen. 


Julian L. Schley; Brig. Gen. John W. N. Schulz; and Lt. Col. Eugene J. White — 
go our special thanks. Joseph A. Logan of the Office of the Comptroller of the 
Army conducted a comprehensive review of statistical matter. 

Kent Roberts Greenfield, Leo J. Meyer, and Stetson Conn of the Office of the 
Chief of Military History and our colleagues in the Engineer Historical Division, 
especially Lenore Fine and Jesse A. Remington, gave us the benefit of their criti- 
cism and greatly encouraged us by their understanding and support. David Jaff e 
and Loretto C. Stevens edited the volume with care and patience. Margaret E. 
Tackley selected the photographs. 

Among the many typists who worked on the manuscript, Dorothy Washing- 
ton, Elizabeth M. Ralston, Daisy G. Shield, Johanne R. Daggett, and Bettie J. 
Hazell earned our particular gratitude for their preparation of the final copy. 
Gerald N. Grob relieved us of many chores in checking and proofreading. 

Librarians and clerks in the various records depositories proved untiring in 
their efforts. To mention Eva Holt, Geraldine Jewell, Mary K. Stuart, and Mae 
E. Walker is to shorten a long list of persons who rendered this type of service with 
admirable efficiency. Gladys Z. McKinney answered repeated inquiries about 
Engineer officers. 

Research by Stuart W. Bruchey, Barbara B. Garner, Curtis W. Garrison, 
Keith Glenn, and Harry E. Ickes has proved helpful in the writing of the book. 
Useful drafts on mapping, camouflage, and intelligence were prepared by Kenneth 
J. Deacon and on procurement of equipment before Pearl Harbor by Doris M. 
Condit. Edna E. Jensen worked up much of the material on procurement of 
supplies during the later war period. 

As to the division of labor among the authors themselves, Miss Coll concen- 
trated primarily upon equipment; Mr. Keith, upon training; and Mr. Rosenthal, 
upon organization of troop units. Since a number of the chapters are the work of 
more than one of the authors, and since in some cases we invaded each other's 
field, there appears to be little advantage in attempting to assign more specific 
authorship credit. An assumption of collective responsibility best expresses the 
way in which we have shared in the final product. 

Washington, D. C. JEAN E. KEITH 

25 February 1957 HERBERT H. ROSENTHAL 



Chapter Page 


The Engineer Mission 1 

Engineers in the Old Army 10 

Reorganization of Division and Corps Units 12 

Formation of Armored and Aviation Units 16 

The Impact of the German Blitzkrieg 18 

Changes in General Units After the Blitzkrieg 22 


The Process of Selection 27 

Frvm Hand Tools to Power Machinery 29 

Strains on the Bridges 36 

Passage of Artificial Obstacles 53 

Equipment for Aviation Engineers 55 



Mapping Techniques 64 

The Air Force-Engineer Team 69 

Divergent Opinions on the Team and Modification of Doctrine .... 75 

Camouflage for Open Warfare 81 


Peacetime Plans 88 

Two Million Extra 92 

Rearming in Earnest 93 

The Beginning of Production Problems 102 


The Nucleus 109 

The "Terrific" Expansion 115 

Training the First Civilians 124 


Chapter Page 


The Wartime Task and Administrative Changes 1 32 

Refinement of Prewar Troop Organizations 136 

The Influence of Logistics on Engineer Growth 142 


The Shortage of Officers 146 

Engineer Replacement Training 160 


On A War Footing 176 

Pooling Production 180 

The Crisis in Production 188 


Attempts to Reduce the Army Supply Program 193 

Tightening Controls on International Aid 195 

Fourth Quarter Production and the Final Reckoning 198 

The Late Start in Maintenance of Equipment 206 


Changes in AGF Units 223 

Supply and Maintenance Units 227 

Changes in ASF Units 229 

Distribution of Engineer Troops 238 


Training the Corps of Specialists 242 

Reflections From Battle 254 

New Proportions and Capacities 256 

The Balanced Engineer Replacement 259 



West Camp Claiborne: The Experimental Phase 270 

West Camp Claiborne: The Permanent Center 277 



Camp Ellis: A Study in Personnel and Command 296 

Camp Sutton: A Study in Racial and National Tensions 306 


Chapter Page 


New Activations During the Equipment Shortage 314 

Basic Military Training 317 

Centralization Begins 319 

Used Equipment Appears 320 

Evaluation of Unit Training 322 

Engineer Aviation Unit Training Centers 324 


Mine Warfare 346 

Drop in Quality of Fillers in 1943 348 

Harvest of Confusion 351 


Origins 355 

Early Organization and Training 361 

Continued Threat From the Navy 376 

Emergence of the Southwest Pacific Requirement 379 

Final Objectives and Dissolution of the Command 385 


Port Construction and Repair Groups 392 

Port Repair Ships and Crews 399 

Dredges and Crews 411 


Restricted Use of Pipelines by the Quartermaster Corps 418 

The Potential Realized by the Corps of Engineers 420 

Testing Equipment 426 

Training Petroleum Distribution Companies 429 



The Beginning of an Engineer Intelligence Collection 438 

The Beginning of an Engineer Map Collection 441 

The Conflict Over Aerial Photography 446 

Adjustments to Mounting Demands 454 


The Over-all Program 464 

Clearance of Land Mines and Other Obstacles 468 

Bridging 483 


Chapter Page 


The Search for a Balanced Supply Program 498 

The Administrative Reorganization of January 1943 507 

The Controlled Materials Plan 511 

The Shortage of Components 515 

The Administrative Reorganization of November 1943 ■. 521 

Deliveries: 1943 522 


Evolution of the Supply System 530 

Stock Control in the Measurement of Requirements 539 

The Procurement Peak 546 

Inefficiency in the Midst of Plenty 554 

Spare Parts 559 




INDEX 595 



1. Status of Major Items of Engineer Procurement Program: 31 December 

1940 101 

2. Status of Major Items of Engineer Procurement Program; 20 December 

1941 106 

3. Distribution of Training Time for Engineer Combat Battalion of Infantry 

Division and Engineer Armored Battalion of Armored Division ... 127 

4. Engineer Units in Troop Basis: January 1942 and July 1942 144 

5. Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1940-41 . . 164 

6. Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1942-43 . . 168 

7. Construction Machinery Annual Requirements as of December 1942 and 

Actual Deliveries in 1942 200 

8. Miscellaneous Equipment Annual Requirements as of December 1942 

and Actual Deliveries in 1942 202 

9. Unfilled Requisitions and the Availability of Depot Stocks: December 

1942 205 

10. Number and Strength of Engineer Table of Organization Units: 30 

June 1945 239 


No. Page 

11. Construction Machinery: Annual Requirements as of February, August, 

and December 1943 and Actual Deliveries in 1943 526 

12. Miscellaneous Equipment: Annual Requirements as of February, August, 

and December 1943 and Actual Deliveries in 1943 528 

13. Tractors, Cranes and Shovels: Annual Requirements as of Selected Dates 

and Actual Deliveries 548 

14. Construction Machinery: Annual Requirements as of Selected Dates and 

Actual Deliveries 550 

15. Boats and Bridges: Annual Requirements as of Selected Dates and Actual 

Deliveries 552 


1. Organization of the Office of the Chief of Engineers: September 1939 . 6 

2. Organization of the Office of the Chief of Engineers: December 1941. . 133 

3. Value of Engineer Supplies Procured by Major Classes of Equipment: 

1942-45 181 

4. Organization and Procedures for Handling International Aid 185 

5. Total Number of Engineer Troops, Continental United States and Over- 

seas: 1942^15 217 

6. Organization of the Office of the Chief of Engineers: December 1943. . 218 

7. Organization and Procedures for Handling Procurement of Supplies: 

1939-45 508 

8. Organization and Procedures for Distributing Supplies 531 

9. Engineer Depots: July 1944 534 

10. Tonnage Handled by Engineer Depots: September 1942-September 

1945 542 

11. Elements of Supply and Demand Studies, Supply Control System . . . 546 


Maj. Gen. Julian L. Schley 5 

Brig. Gen. John J. Kingman 7 

Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Robins 8 

1st Division Engineers Working on a Muddy Road 10 

Col. Stuart C. Godfrey 13 

Bulldozer in Operation 32 

7%-Ton Ponton Bridge Over the Chattahoochee River 38 

H-10 Portable Steel Bridge 40 



German Raft Built of Pneumatic Floats 43 

10-Ton Ponton Bridge at Fort Knox, Ky 46 

Pneumatic-Float Treadway Bridge 50 

SCR-625 Mine Detector 55 

Aviation Engineer Equipment 57 

Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold 63 

Five-Lens Camera, T-3A 65 

Multiplex Set 67 

Printing Maps in the Field, Carolina Maneuvers 80 

Flat-Top Concealing 3-Inch Antiaircraft Gun Emplacement 83 

Dummy Planes in Position 85 

Soldiers Camouflaged With Individual Nets 87 

Assistant Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson 89 

60-Inch Searchlight Unit 90 

Abbot Hall, Headquarters of the Engineer School 110 

Camouflaged Revetments 129 

Maj. Gen. Eugene Reybold 134 

General Brehon B. Somervell 137 

Engineers Constructing the Pioneer Road 143 

Brig. Gen. Roscoe C. Crawford 152 

Obstacle Course, Ft. Belvoir, 1941 167 

Soldiers Firing the Springfield M1903 170 

Brig. Gen. Raymond F. Fowler 184 

Maj. Gen. Lucius D. Clay 187 

Brig. Gen. Clarence L. Sturdevant 220 

Tractor-Operated Letourneau Crane M20 245 

Class in Automotive Mechanics 248 

Engineer Equipment in New Guinea 250 

Deactivating Antipersonnel Mines and Booby Traps 256 

Class in Drafting at a Civilian University 262 

Brig. Gen. John W. N. Schulz 271 

Ponton Equipage Being Unloaded 276 

Welding Dredge Equipment 289 

Overseas Sawmill 291 

Negro Troops Training at Camp Sutton 309 

Bantam Towed Scraper 317 

Engineer Troops Preparing Base Course of Airstrip 336 

Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair 338 

Engineers at Camp Swift, Texas 344 

Sowing a Mine Field 348 

Brig. Gen. Daniel Noce 362 

Landing Craft Operated by Engineer Troops 371 

Engineers Placing Sommerfeld Track on the Sand 374 



Jeep Leaving Landing Craft 375 

Diver Coming Out of the Water 39 5 

Members of Port Construction and Repair Group 398, 399 

Layout Plan for the Engineer Port Repair Ship 404 

The Engineer Port Repair Ship 405 

Barth, Hains Class Hopper Dredge 415 

Preparing for Field Problem on Pipe-Laying 433 

Manifold Valve Installation on Pipeline 435 

Welder Joining Two Sections of Pipe 436 

Women Compiling Foreign Map Information 443 

Col. Herbert B. Loper 445 

Laying Out Aerial Photographs to Check Sequence 454 

Soldier Using Multiplex 455 

Sorting Maps for Distribution 458 

Bulldozer Cutting Road Through Jungle 472 

Road Cut Through Hills and Jungle 473 

Beach and Underwater Obstacles, Normandy, France 474 

Soldier Removing an Enemy Mine 480 

Bridge Truck With Hydraulic Lifting Device 485 

Medium Tank Crossing Treadway Bridge 488 

Tank Falling into the Colorado River 489 

Bailey Bridge 493 

Steel Treadway Bridge 497 

Stacks of Engineer Supplies 560 

Converting Stock Records of Parts 565 

The illustration on page 10 is from the National Archives; the illustrations on 
pages 43 and 46 are from the International News Photos; all others are from the 
files of the Department of Defense. 



Engineers in the New 

Those who have attempted to describe in 
a simple phrase the tactics of the most com- 
plex war in history refer to World War II 
as "an air war," "a mechanized war," "an 
amphibious war," and most inclusively, 
"a mobile war." Because its military cam- 
paigns accented movement, whether by air, 
by sea, or by land, and because the primary 
combat mission of the Corps of Engineers is 
to aid or impede movement, World War II 
has also been called "an engineer's war." 1 
The far-flung deployment of American 
troops and the global nature of the conflict 
placed a premium on logistics. As a con- 
sequence the engineer mission of building 
military bases and routes of communication 
took on added significance. Although ar- 
rogating to the engineers an exclusive title 
to the war would indeed be to lose perspec- 
tive, merely noting that the claim was made 
attests to the importance of the engineer role. 

During World War II engineer troops 
built airfields, camps, depots, and hospitals 
for the invasion build-up in Britain. They 
overcame German destruction in Italy by 
clearing the ports and roads of rubble and 
by throwing bridges across the rivers. They 
cleared the beaches at the Normandy land- 
ings and rolled the supplies across them. 
Working under heavy fire, they threw pon- 
ton bridges across the Rhine, making cer- 
tain that troops and supplies would continue 
to push onward after the bridge at Rema- 
gen collapsed. Engineer troops opened new 

supply routes into China, constructing air- 
fields on either side of the "Hump" and 
pushing the Ledo Road and the longest pipe- 
line system in the world through the moun- 
tainous jungle. In the long fight from 
Australia to Tokyo, engineers manned land- 
ing craft which delivered invading troops 
on island after island and converted those 
islands into operating bases. The founda- 
tion of this contribution to victory overseas 
was laid at home in the development of doc- 
trine and equipment, the refinement of 
troop organization, and the training of 
citizen soldiers. 2 

The Engineer Mission 

The Corps of Engineers has a long his- 
tory of service to the nation in war and 
peace. In 1950 it celebrated its 175th an- 

1 On his return from a tour of the Southwest 
Pacific theater the Chief of Engineers quoted Gen- 
eral Douglas MacArthur : "Reybold, this is an air 
and amphibious war; because of the nature of air 
and amphibious operations, it is distinctly an engi- 
neer's war." Maj. Gen. Eugene Reybold, "Engi- 
neers on Our War Fronts," Concrete, III {April, 
1944), 33. See also, Lt. Gen. Eugene Reybold, 
Engineers in World War II, A Tribute, pamphlet 
[1 Nov 45], p. 1. EHD files. 

3 For the history of the Corps of Engineers over- 
seas, see Ralph F. WeM 1 Abe Borrz. and Charles 
W. Lynch, The Corps of Engineers: The War 
Against Germ any, and Karl C. Pod, Th e Corps 
of Engineers: | The War Against Japan"] volumes 
in preparation for the series UNITED STATES 



niversary, thus honoring the date when 
Richard Gridley was appointed Chief Engi- 
neer of the Revolutionary forces. Con- 
gress established a Corps of Engineers in 
1779, only to disband it in 1783. An act 
passed 16 March 1802 established the 
present Corps and provided that it should 
be "stationed at West Point . . . and shall 
constitute a Military Academy . . . ." 
Although the faculty at West Point was but 
for a short time predominantly "Engineer," 
the Corps remained in charge of the school 
until 1866. The Corps of Engineers had 
meanwhile been singled out to perf orm tasks 
which have been variously known as "non- 
military," "civil works," or "rivers and 
harbors." In 1824, Congress authorized 
the President "to cause the necessary sur- 
veys, plans, and estimates, to be made of 
the routes of such roads and canals as he 
may deem of national importance, in a 
commercial or military point of view, or 
necessary for the transportation of the pub- 
lic mail" and "to employ two or more skill- 
ful engineers, and such officers of the corps 
of engineers, or who may be detailed to do 
duty with that corps, as he may think 
proper . . . Thereafter Army engineers 
were in the vanguard of westward expan- 
sion. They improved the navigation of the 
Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, selected the 
route of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 
superintended the construction of the Na- 
tional Road, and surveyed the routes of 
many railroads. 3 

The Army engineer is no less proud of the 
military history of his Corps than of its 
peacetime accomplishments. Although his 
unique contribution is as a technician, the 
engineer soldier is a fighter as well. The ex- 
ploits of the Union Army's Engineer Bat- 
talion at Antietam illustrate his versatility : 

The night before the battle of Antietam the 
Battalion rendered three of the fords of 
Antietam Creek passable for artillery, by 
cutting down the banks and paving the 
bottom with large stones where it was too 
soft. During the battle the Battalion guarded 
and kept open these fords. The night after 
the battle, the Battalion, at the request of 
its commander, was ordered to report to Gen. 
Porter to act as infantry and in that capacity 
supported Randall's battery of the First Ar- 
tillery in the advance to Shepherdstown. 
After the arrival of the army at Harper's Ferry 
it built one bridge over the Potomac and 
another over the Shenandoah and was busily 
engaged on the fortifications during the 
month it remained there. 4 

During World War I, the Corps of Engi- 
neers grew from 256 officers and about 
2,220 enlisted men to 11,175 officers and 
about 285,000 men. In France its most im- 
portant job was keeping open the routes 
of communication but, as in the Civil War, 
engineer soldiers were prepared to act as in- 
fantry in combat, and their service at Bel- 
leau Wood and during the German offensive 
of March 1918 contributed much toward 
the Allied victory. 

During the period between World War I 
and II, the military duties of the Corps of 
Engineers remained the same. If war came, 
its troops were to clear the way and build ; 

3 Historical sketches of the Corps of Engineers 
are found in (1) Lt. Col. Paul W. Thompson, 
What You Should Know About the Army Engi- 
neers (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 
1942) ; (2) W. Stull Holt, The Office of the Chief 
of Engineers of the Army, Its Non-Military History, 
Activities, and Organization (Baltimore: The Johns 
Hopkins Press, 1923); (3) Engr Sch, History and 
Traditions of the Corps of Engineers (Fort Belvoir, 
Va.: Engineer Center, 1949); (4) Engr Sch, The 
News Letter, II (May, 1950); (5) EHD, The Corps 
of Engineers Historical Index (1943). 

4 Quoted in 1st Lt. C. A. Youngsberg, History of 
Engineer Troops in the United States Army, 1775— 
1901 (Washington Barracks: Press of the Engineer 
School, 1910), Engr Sch Occasional Papers 37, 
1910, p. 11. 



to survey and map; to supply water and 
electricity; to develop materials and tech- 
niques for camouflage; to operate railroads. 
With the exception of railroad operation, 
transferred to the newly created Transpor- 
tation Corps in November 1942, these were 
the jobs for which the engineers prepared 
and which they carried out during World 
War II. 

Probably because of the broad scope of 
engineer responsibilities both in peace and 
war, the Corps had become accustomed to 
expecting the cream of the West Point 
graduating class to elect service with it. 
When the top man in the class of 1941 
failed to select the Corps of Engineers, the 
head of the Engineering Department at the 
Military Academy undertook to cushion the 
Chief of Engineers for the shock : 

You will probably have to take a bit of 
joshing over the fact that the No. 1 man chose 
the cavalry. . . . This man, who is a very 
fine one, was 'crazy' about horses when he 
entered. . . . This love . . . has stayed with 
him and, since the cavalry is the only branch 
that has many horses left, he was consistent 
in choosing the cavalry. 5 

Actually, this particular Chief of Engineers 
remained sanguine when top men failed to 
choose the Corps. He thought that a differ- 
ent choice tended to silence protests from 
other branches that they also needed men 
who showed outstanding promise and 
tended to have a sobering effect upon those 
Engineer officers who regarded the Corps 
as an exclusive branch, different from, and 
perhaps superior to, the other branches. 
Insofar as exclusiveness aided esprit, he wel- 
comed the sentiment; insofar as it posed a 
threat to teamwork, he deplored it. But 
whether this loss by the Corps of some of 
the top men of West Point was a cause for 
embarrassment or for silent congratulation, 

such occasions were rare. In 1940, the Engi- 
neer quota of 40 was filled from the first 67 
men in a class of 445; in 1941, its quota of 
50 was filled from the first 69 in a class of 
427. The Engineers were indeed fortunate. 
Such men were accustomed to working hard 
and to succeeding. They were proficient in 
book learning — an indispensable tool in the 
mastery of a technical profession. 

Accustomed to outstanding qualities in 
its West Point graduates, the Engineers 
sought to set a similar high standard among 
appointments made from civil life. As one 
Engineer officer expressed it, the Corps 
"should not be satisfied with anything less 
than 'A' No. 1 cracker jack ring-tail ele- 
phants to whom you can give a job, forget 
about it, and know that you will get one 
hundred per cent results." 7 The Engineers 
looked to the construction industry, whose 
ranks were filled with graduates of technical 
colleges, to furnish many such officers in an 
emergency. Contacts with this "reserve" 
were assured through the civil works activi- 
ties of the Corps and through mutual mem- 
bership in the Society of American Military 
Engineers and other national engineering 

The esprit de corps created by the belief 
among Engineer officers that they consti- 
tuted a select group and that they were the 
heirs of many years' service to the nation led 
Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, commanding 

5 Ltr, [Lt Col Thomas D.] Stamps, Dept of Civil 
and Mil Engr, USMA, to CofEngrs, 23 May 41. 
210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 17. 

8 ( 1 ) Ibid. (2) Memo, TAG for CofEngrs, 23 Apr 
41. 210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 16. (3) Incl, n.d., 
with Ltr, Maj Gen Julian L. Schley to C of EHD, 
4 Jun 52. EHD files. (All letters to the chief of 
the Engineer Historical Division are in Engineer 
Historical Division files. ) 

' Ltr, Brig Gen Dan I. Sultan, CO Ft. Logan, 
to C of Opns and Tng Sec, 28 Feb 39. 210.1, 
Engrs Corps of, Pt. 6. 



the Army Service Forces — himself an Engi- 
neer officer — to declare that "the senti- 
mental angle . . . was probably stronger 
in my own Corps than in any other in the 
Army. . . ." s Sentimentality was exem- 
plified by the cherished Engineer button, 
different in design from the standard Army 
button and to be seen only on the uniforms 
of members of the Corps of Engineers. 
Confidence marked the Engineers' tendency 
to translate its motto, Essayons, as "Let us 
succeed" rather than "Let us try." 

Except at the very top, the Corps of Engi- 
neers always maintained a clear-cut admin- 
istrative division between its civil and 
military functions. The Chief of Engineers 
was the only person charged with both ac- 
tivities. In carrying out his civil works du- 
ties, he reported directly to the Secretary 
of War. On the military side, he was re- 
sponsible to the War Department's Chief of 
Staff for the development of doctrine, the 
selection of equipment, and the training of 
troops. Once trained, the majority of Engi- 
neer officers and enlisted men were removed 
from his control except in technical mat- 
ters. The Chief of Engineers was in direct 
command only of such troops as were not 
assigned to a territorial commander or were 
not part of a tactical unit containing other 
branches. In the fall of 1940 most engi- 
neer troops were assigned either to overseas 
departments, to one of the nine corps areas 
into which the United States was divided, 
to one of the four armies which took over 
tactical command of ground troops under 
Army General Headquarters in October of 
that year, or to the GHQ Air Force. De- 
spite the limited nature of his command 
functions, the Chief of Engineers exercised 
a continuing influence on engineer troops. 
Although he could not order them to throw 

a bridge across a particular river, they built 
it with the equipment and according to the 
methods he had approved. Thus, in both a 
civil and a military way the Chief of En- 
gineers was the arbiter of all Engineer policy 
and was in the final analysis answerable for 
the technical performance of engineer 
troops in the field and of officers and civil- 
ians employed on civil works. 10 

When World War II broke out in Europe 
in September 1939, the Chief of Engineers 
was Maj. Gen. Julian L. Schley. Fifty-nine 
years old at this time, he was midway in his 
four-year term, having been appointed on 
18 October 1937. General Schley thus began 
his service as Chief during the period when 
the Army was beginning to expand in size 
and to modernize its tactics and equipment. 
His retirement came just prior to Pearl Har- 
bor. Before becoming Chief of Engineers 
General Schley had had the usual distribu- 
tion of assignments, about evenly divided 
between military duties and civil works. The 
two main administrative divisions of the Of- 
fice of the Chief of Engineers (OCE) — 
Civil Works and Military — formed a staff of 
advisers to prepare tentative plans and 
policy recommendations, to set approved 
policies in operation, and to supervise their 
execution. Each was headed by an assistant 
to the Chief of Engineers who passed recom- 
mendations up to the Chief but also ap- 
proved without reference to him many 

8 Quoted in John D. Millett, The Organization 
and Role of the Army Service Forces, UNITED 
ington, 1954), p. 406. 

'(1) Thompson, op. cit., pp. 18-19. (2) The 
News Letter, op. cit., pp. 3-4. (3) Samuel T. Wil- 
liamson, "Fighting Handymen on Every Battle- 
front," New York Times Magazine, April 1 1, 1943. 

10 AR 100-5, 28 Nov 33, 26 Jun 42. 



matters within established policy which 
were not routine. {Chart 1 ) 

In addition to the Civil Works Division 
in Washington, the Corps of Engineers 
maintained an extensive field organization, 
the Engineer Department, for on-the-spot 
supervision of its rivers and harbors projects. 
For this purpose the United States was di- 
vided geographically into eleven divisions, 
each made up of several districts. For ex- 
ample, the North Atlantic Division included 
eight district offices, seven in the United 
States and one in Puerto Rico; the Lower 
Mississippi Valley Division, three district 
offices. 11 

The relative importance of civil works 
and military activities varied according to 
whether the nation was at peace or at war. 
When, in the years following World War I, 
the military activities of the Corps of Engi- 
neers were, in common with those of other 
branches of the Army, afflicted by pau- 
city of funds and other frustrations, the 
spirit of the Corps' officers was kept high 
through assignments to rivers and harbors 
duty and to various public works sponsored 
by the federal government. While Army 
officers in general struggled with outmoded 
equipment and small-scale training exer- 
cises, many Engineer officers found them- 
selves in the center of New Deal pump- 
priming. Some in this group were loaned to 
various New Deal agencies; others were 
assigned to work within the Corps itself. 
No matter where they went they found 
challenging jobs, supervising the building of 
vast networks of roads and the construction 
of such huge installations as the Bonneville 
and Fort Peck dams. The Engineers main- 
tained that such experience did more than 
build morale. Typical of their attitude was 
the enthusiastic agreement of an Engineer 
officer with a congressman's summation 


Chief of Engineers from October 1937 until 
October 1941. 

that "while their jobs may have to do with 
engineering projects which have no im- 
mediate military connection, such assign- 
ments do equip them in the best possible 
way to tackle the problems which would 
confront them in time of war." 12 The unique 
combination of civil works and troop duty, 
the Corps was convinced, produced some- 
thing more than the pioneer infantryman 
who served as the engineer of other armies. 
The Engineer officer was a soldier with a 
knowledge of civil engineering. Tours of 
duty with civil works afforded him an op- 
portunity to learn about the latest construc- 

11 Orgn Charts OCE, 1 Sep 39, 1 Aug 40, 27 Feb 
41. EHD files. 

12 Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 
1941, Hearings before the Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Appropriations, HR, 76th Gong, 3d 
Sess, p. 657. 

c ■> s 


If II 

iff f 


s n a .2 
Iff J 



c .9 



tion techniques and equipment and to gain 
experience in organizing the work of large 
groups of men. Yet on the whole, the rela- 
tionship of the Civil Works Division and its 
field offices to the wartime mission of the 
Engineers was an indirect one. 

Developing fighting engineers was the job 
of the Military Division. During the period 
when Schley was Chief of Engineers, Brig. 
Gen. John J. Kingman was his assistant in 
charge of the Military Division. Kingman's 
division was composed of six sections: Op- 
erations and Training; Personnel; Supply; 
Intelligence; Construction; and Railway; 
and of two field agencies — the Engineer 
School and the Engineer Board — located 
nearby at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Central 
to them all was the Operations and Train- 
ing Section (O&T) which had the task of 
over-all planning both for the proficiency of 
personnel and the efficiency of equipment. 
O&T prepared tables of organization 
(T/O's) which outlined the structure of 
each troop unit and tables of basic allow- 
ances (T/BA's) which listed the types and 
amounts of equipment to be issued. O&T 
also supervised the training of all officers 
and enlisted men, drawing up general edu- 
cational programs, determining specific cur- 
ricula, and preparing training literature. 
The Personnel Section decided whether offi- 
cers would be assigned to troop units, to 
schools, to civil works, or to other duties. 
The Supply Section computed the quanti- 
ties of equipment needed, bought it, saw 
that it was delivered when and where 
needed, and supervised the development of 
new types. The other two sections of the 
Military Division in Washington had more 
specialized duties. The Intelligence Sec- 
tion had charge of all military mapping, in- 
cluding supervision of the Engineer Repro- 
duction Plant, and was consulted on the 



Assistant Chief of Engineers, Military 

development of new techniques and equip- 
ment for map making. This section also 
investigated new applications of engineer- 
ing skills in the light of changing military 
tactics. During peacetime years the prin- 
cipal job of the Construction Section was 
the provision and maintenance of seacoast 
defenses. While this work continued and 
even increased for a time, the section's 
other responsibilities — the preparation of 
designs for structures and installations in 
theaters of operations and the preparation 
of plans for the management of public utili- 
ties there — eventually overshadowed it. 13 

For advice in theoretical and technical 
matters all sections of the Military Division 
looked to Fort Belvoir, the Engineer center 
for the training of men and the development 

13 OCE Mil Div Manual, Duties and Procedure, 
1937 (Rev). 




Assistant Chief of Engineers, Civil Works 
Di vision. (Photograph taken 1943.) 

of new equipment. Here the Engineer 
School conducted advanced courses for of- 
ficers and for enlisted men, prepared exten- 
sion and conference courses for National 
Guard and Reserve officers, and wrote train- 
ing literature. In this quasi-academic atmos- 
phere, Engineer doctrine and methods of 
training were critically examined and 
recommendations for revision forwarded to 
the Chief's office. The Engineer Board car- 
ried on a similar function in regard to equip- 
ment. In the course of its investigations the 
board engaged in theoretical studies and 
performed experiments and tests in order to 
place more efficient tools and equipment in 
the hands of engineer troops. 14 

Until mid- 1941 the Chief's office and its 
agencies at Fort Belvoir constituted a small 
organization. Everyone knew everyone else 
and business was carried out in an informal, 

personal atmosphere. Co-ordination, re- 
called one Engineer officer, "was a matter 
of going next door, or walking down the 
hall" to ask the advice of friends. 15 For his 
part, Schley met regularly and often daily 
with Kingman and Brig. Gen. Thomas M. 
Robins who was his assistant in charge of 
the Civil Works Division. General King- 
man visited Fort Belvoir frequently and en- 
couraged his subordinates to follow his 
example. He and Schley also made many 
trips to engineer units stationed in the field. 
These visits, with the opportunities they 
afforded to exchange ideas with those closest 
to engineer troops, were supplemented by a 
series of Information Bulletins through 
which OCE sought to keep the field abreast 
of developments in military engineering at 
home and abroad. 18 

The administrative organization of the 
Military Division provided a comprehen- 
sive framework readily adapted to meet 
an emergency situation. It was not until 
mid- 1941 that the military activities of the 
Corps began to compel the attention ac- 
corded to civil works activities in peace- 
time. The importance of civil works was 
well defined by the chairman of a Congres- 
sional committee when he remarked to Gen- 
eral Schley: "We do not have much op- 
portunity to discuss with you the military 
side of your responsibility, because, nor- 

ll ARs 350-300, 19 Oct 38, 15 Jun 42; 100-30, 
26 Jan 32, 14 Aug 42. 

15 Interv, Col Gerald Galloway, 12 Sep 50. See 
also similar remarks by Col. Miles M. Dawson in 
Interv, 20 Sep 50, and Ltr, Col William M. Bessell, 
Jr., to C of Mil Hist, 16 Jan 54. (All interviews and 
all letters to the Chief of Military History are in 
Engineer Historical Division files.) 

M (1) Inch, n. d., with Ltrs, Schley to C of EHD, 
4 Jun 52, and 26 Jun 52. (2) Interv, Brig Gen 
Claude H. Chorpening, 10 Jul 50. 

The series of Information Bulletins began in 1933 
and extended through 1943. A set is on file in the 
OCE Library. 



mally, by far the larger part of the funds 
we appropriate to your branch are for 
nonmilitary functions." 17 Most congress- 
men thought of the Corps of Engineers in 
relation to improvements that would be 
made to the rivers and harbors adjacent to 
their home communities. Conscious of this 
personal interest, Schley felt "it was the part 
of wisdom to be present" at the hearings 
on the appropriation bill for civil works, 
even though he had perfect confidence in 
the ability of Assistant Chief of Engineers 
Robins to make the presentation. The Chief 
of Engineers felt no such compulsion to 
appear in defense of the military budget 
and, unlike the chiefs of other arms and 
services, did not do so. General Kingman 
usually represented the Corps at such 

For the fiscal year 1938, Congress appro- 
priated but $599,400 in military funds, 
$234,465,300 in civil funds to the Corps of 
Engineers; in 1939, $4,358,380 in military 
funds, $201,885,800 in civil; in 1940, 
$3,044,340 for military activities, $279,- 
364,000 for civil works. By 1941, however, 
military funds began to comprise a signifi- 
cant portion of the budget. For that year the 
Engineers received a military appropria- 
tion of $66,405,955 as against a civil works 
appropriation of $214,878,310. Another 
$200,000,000 came to the Corps early in 
fiscal year 1941 for the construction of mili- 
tary airfields, a program hitherto under the 
jurisdiction of the Quartermaster Corps. 1 " 

The transfer of the supervision of Air 
Corps construction from the Quartermaster 
Corps was the first of two steps in the con- 
solidation of all military construction in the 
Corps of Engineers. Vital as was the con- 
struction program to military preparedness, 
responsibility for its execution perpetuated 
the split personality of the Corps, for the 

military construction program, like the civil 
works program, had little direct bearing on 
the creation of engineer soldiers. Schley was 
confident of the Corps' ability to carry out 
civil and military construction as well as pre- 
pare its troops for war. Normally, he ex- 
plained, between one third and one quarter 
of the Regular Army officers were assigned 
to civil works. Most of the personnel en- 
gaged in civil works were civilians. It was 
possible therefore to transfer officers- from 
civil to military duty without danger to the 
functioning of the organization, and this 
was done beginning in the fall of 1939. A 
similar policy, he promised, would govern 
the supervision of military construction, 20 

This transfer of officers was but one as- 
pect of the shift from a peace to a war foot- 
ing. During the period 1939-41 the num- 
ber of engineer enlisted men increased from 
somewhat under 6,000 to almost 70,000. 

11 Statement of Congressman J. Buell Snyder, 20 
March 1941, in War Department Civil Functions 
Appropriation Bill for 1942, Hearings before the 
Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 
HR, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, p. 23. 

M (1) Hearings on Military Establishment Ap- 
propriation Bill and Hearings on War Department 
Civil Functions Appropriation Bill, 1940, HR, 76th 
Cong, 1st Sess; 1 94 1, HR, 76th Cong, 3d Sess; 1942, 
HR, 77th Cong, 1st Sess. (2) Incl, with Ltr, Schley 
to C of EHD, 4 Jun 52. 

19 Inc], Appropriations for Mil and Civil Func- 
tions CE, with Memo, C of Budget and Programs 
Div OCE for C of EHD, 6 Jun 55! During the fiscal 
years 1938—41 the Corps of Engineers also received 
approximately $14,886,600 for construction of sea- 
coast defenses. 

For the military construction program, see Le- 
nore Fine and Tesse A. Remington. The Corps of 
Engineers: I Military Construction in the United] 
States, a volume in preparation for the series 

20 { 1 ) Hearings on War Department Civil Func- 
tions Appropriation Bill, 1942, HR, 77th Cong, 1st 
Sess, 20 Mar 41, pp. 23-24. (2) Testimony of Col 
Stuart C. Godfrey, 1 1 Mar 40, in Hearings on Mili- 
tary Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1941, HR, 
76th Cong, 3d Sess, p, 657. 




France, November 1918. 

Concurrently with the reception and train- 
ing of these citizen soldiers the Corps of 
Engineers adjusted to the radical changes 
in weapons, structure, and tactics that dis- 
tinguished the new from the old Army. 

Engineers in the Old Army 

The United States Army of the twenties 
and thirties was largely a product of World 
War I. Trench warfare characteristic of that 
conflict had left a deep impress on military 
organization and tactics. The basic unit of 
the old Army was the square infantry divi- 
sion which took its name from the four in- 
fantry regiments it contained. Tied to a 
clumsy combination of foot soldiers, horses, 
and motor vehicles, the square division 
lacked mobility, and its planned wartime 
strength of 22,000 men would have made it 

difficult to maneuver. The Army of the 
thirties was too small to permit the organ- 
ization of echelons higher than a division, 
but in case of emergency, the War Depart- 
ment planned to group divisions and sup- 
porting units into corps, armies, and a 
general headquarters. 21 

Engineer functions in these echelons of 
command conformed to experiences win- 
nowed from World War I. The major task 
in that war had been repair and mainte- 
nance of the muddy roads of France, and 
the Engineers expected that road and other 
work to keep the routes of communication 
open would account for seventy-five percent 

21 For a detailed discussion of the reorganization 
of the Army, see Kent Roberts Greenfield, Robert 
R. Palmer, and Bell I. Wiley, The Organization of 
Ground Combat Troops, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1947). 



of their efforts in a future conflict. Next in 
the order of engineer jobs during World 
War I had been the preparation of defensive 
works, the erection of obstacles, and the con- 
struction of shelters and other buildings. 
The Engineer Field Manual of 1932 re- 
flected that experience. Most of its space on 
field fortifications was devoted to trench 
construction. There were few pages on anti- 
tank obstacles, and there was little apprecia- 
tion of the value of antitank mines. 
Construction of airfields was given but 
limited coverage. 22 

The engineer units which evolved as a 
result of World War I were classified either 
as general or as special units. General units 
included the engineer combat regiment of 
the infantry division, the engineer squadron 
of the cavalry division, and the general serv- 
ice regiments and separate battalions which 
were distributed among corps, army, and 
communications zone. The combat regi- 
ment did any temporary engineering work 
required for the accomplishment of the divi- 
sion's mission — repairing and building roads 
and bridges, creating obstacles, assisting in 
the organization of defensive positions, con- 
structing advance landing fields for the Air 
Corps, maintaining the division's water sup- 
ply, providing maps, and building troop 
shelters. While the combat regiment was 
supposed to fulfill only immediate front-line 
needs, its work was conditioned by the slow- 
moving character of the division. The engi- 
neer squadron, being part of the more 
mobile cavalry, emphasized hasty road re- 
pair and reconnaissance but performed the 
same general tasks within the limits of its 
personnel and equipment. 

According to Engineer doctrine in the 
nineteen-thirties one sixth of an Engineer 
force in a theater of operations would have 
been composed of these divisional units. 

The bulk of engineer troops, nearly two 
thirds, would have been located in general 
service regiments and separate battalions for 
duties behind the front. For the more ex- 
tensive and permanent work required in the 
rear areas the general service regiment was 
equipped with a variety of tools and spe- 
cially trained soldiers. W r ith its large pool of 
unskilled labor, the separate battalion was 
designed to support other units as well as to 
undertake missions of its own. 

Special units, intended to comprise one 
fifth of an Engineer force, were organized 
to perform particular tasks. They included 
light ponton companies and heavy ponton 
battalions for the care and transportation 
of bridging equipage, topographic units to 
make and supply maps for army and gen- 
eral headquarters, water supply battalions 
to deliver water in areas where the local sup- 
ply was inadequate, dump truck companies 
to transport construction materials, depot 
companies to handle engineer supplies, shop 
companies for the general maintenance of 
engineer equipment, and camouflage bat- 
talions to supervise camouflage and supply 
special materials. 23 

Although mobilization plans called for all 
these organizations, they constituted merely 
a paper classification. In September 1939 
the Regular Army had only twelve active 
engineer units. Eight were combat regiments 
or parts of regiments down to a company; 
one, a squadron minus a troop ; another, one 
troop of a squadron. The other two were 
topographic battalions. The small size of 
the peacetime Army coupled with the neces- 
sity for a core around which to form an 

22 (1) Info Bull 34, 27 Oct 39, Hist of CE. (2) 
Military Handbook for National Guard and Reserve 
Engineers (Engr Sen, 1937), p. 153. (3) Engineer 
Field Manual (2 vols., Washington, 1932), passim. 
(Cited hereafter as EFM.) 

23 EFM, I, Engineer Troops. 



initial protective force had dictated this con- 
centration of enlisted men within combat 
units. 24 

Reorganization of Division and Corps U nits 

Shortly after General Malin Craig be- 
came Chief of Staff in 1935 he ordered a re- 
examination of the organization and tactics 
of the Army. The aim was an increase in 
mobility; the means, the use of mechanical 
power to the utmost and a reduction in the 
size of troop units. The period between the 
two wars had been marked by great im- 
provements in motor vehicles, tanks, and 
airplanes, which made the adoption of new 
tactics imperative, while advances in the 
design of weapons made cuts in personnel 
feasible without a loss of fire power. In the 
case of the infantry division, still further 
reductions could be made by relegating per- 
sonnel and equipment needed only under 
certain contingencies to corps. 

With these guiding principles the Army 
embarked in 1 936 on a reorganization of the 
infantry division. The new triangular divi- 
sion that resulted contained three instead of 
four infantry regiments. Reductions in other 
elements reduced the planned wartime 
strength of the division from 22,068 to 
13,552 men. The engineers shared in the 
general cut. The combat regiment of 868 
officers and men was changed to a battalion 
of 518. But in relative numbers the engi- 
neer component remained about the same — 
3.8 percent of the division's strength. By way 
of indicating what could be done to reduce 
auxiliary units, Craig had mentioned the 
possibility of eliminating the engineers from 
the division entirely. The committee which 
specified the organization of the triangular 
division rejected that idea, possibly because 
of the expectation that increased depend- 

ence on motor vehicles would mean in- 
creased dependence on roads and bridges, 
but more likely because of the desire to 
avoid so drastic a change prior to testing. 
At any rate the new engineer battalion re- 
tained substantially the same functions as 
the old regiment. 25 

After the triangular division was tested in 
1937, its officers recommended further cuts. 
For the engineers this meant a drastic re- 
duction to a single company of 1 75 officers 
and men, only 1.7 percent of the division's 
strength. Proper reconnaissance, the argu- 
ment ran, would enable the division to de- 
tour around blown bridges and other ob- 
stacles in the movement that preceded 
actual combat. Once the battle was joined, 
the division would require only emergency 
repair of roads, while other engineer tasks 
such as demolitions and roadblocks could 
be executed quickly. There seemed there- 
fore to be little organic need for divisional 
engineers in open warfare. In the follow- 
ing months this viewpoint was to meet 
strong opposition from the Corps of Engi- 

Responsibility for expounding the opin- 
ions of the Corps of Engineers on organiza- 
tional matters rested with the Chief of 
Engineers, and more specifically with the 

" (1) Annual Report Covering Military Activi- 
ties of the Corps of Engineers for the Fiscal Year 
Ending June 30, 1939. (Cited hereafter as Ann Rpt 
OCE. These reports are in EHD files.) (2) The 
Engineer Protective Mobilization Plan, 1939 (Ten- 
tative), 15 May 39. EHD files. (3) Mark Skinner 
Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Prepara- 
WAR II (Washington, 1950), pp. 26-30. 

25 (1) O&T Office Study 131. EHD files. (2) 
Lecture, Col S. C. Godfrey, The Streamlined Divi- 
sion and Its Engineer Component, 9 May 38. 
350.001, Pt. 10. (3) Military Handbook for Na- 
tional Guard and Reserve Engineers, pp. 24-25. 

™ Rpt of Fid Sec Test of Proposed Inf Div, App. 
A, 21 Mar 38. McNair Papers. 



Operations and Training Section. From 
1937 to 1941 O&T was headed by Col. 
Stuart C. Godfrey, who had served over- 
seas during World War I. Thereafter, he 
had had tours of duty as an instructor at the 
Command and General Staff School, as a 
troop unit commander, and as a District En- 
gineer. Among his assistants, Maj. Louis J. 
Claterbos, who became his executive officer, 
Capt. Gerald E. Galloway who headed the 
organization and equipment subsection, 
and Maj. Kenner F. Hertford, who suc- 
ceeded Galloway, were particularly con- 
cerned with the organization of engineer 
units. These men did the spade work in 
preparing the arguments with which Schley 
and Kingman forcefully promoted the En- 
gineers' point of view. 27 

The O&T Section obtained some of its 
arguments in turn from the Engineer 
School and the Engineer Board, and from 
units in the field, but the Chief's office was 
often guided by different considerations 
from those of these subordinate organiza- 
tions. O&T had to face the practical prob- 
lem of not making impossible demands on 
the General Staff. The proposals that went 
forward, therefore, were usually limited to 
requests which would not be considered 
unreasonable. At the same time the Engi- 
neers tried to assure themselves a sympa- 
thetic hearing by making a concerted effort 
to place able officers from the Corps in po- 
sitions of responsibility on the General Staff 
itself. 28 "I believe/' Godfrey advised Gen- 
eral Schley in February 1939, "that the 
most effective way to ensure full considera- 
tion of our needs, for men and equipment, 
is to secure a larger representation on the 
General Staff. Major Wood's detail to G-4 
has already been very helpful in this con- 
nection. The present opportunity to rec- 
ommend an Engineer for detail in the im- 

of Operations and Training Section from 
1937 to 1941. 

portant Mobilization Section of G-3 should, 
in my opinion, be taken advantage of, even 
at the expense of some other activity." 2!) 
In mid- 1939 there were five Engineer of- 
ficers assigned to the General Staff, which 
at this time numbered about one hundred. 
In the fall of 1940 there were six, one of 
whom, Maj. Gen. Richard C. Moore, was 
deputy chief of staff for supply and transpor- 
tation, and another, Brig. Gen. Eugene Rey- 
bold, the G-4. Many of the letters and 
memoranda addressed to the General Staff 
were delivered personally by Schley or by 
Kingman, who, on these occasions and 
others, sought to keep themselves posted on 

2T Orgn Charts OCE, 1937-41. EHD files. 

28 (1 ) Incl, n. d., with Ltr, Schley to C of EHD, 
4 Jun 52. (2) Interv, Maj Gen Clarence L. Adcock, 
27 Dec 51. 

2,1 Memo, ExO Mil Div for CofEngrs, 21 Feb 39. 
475, Engr Equip ) Pt. 1. 



the staff's point of view as well as to present 
that of the Engineers. 80 

The Engineers' views were naturally mo- 
tivated in part by branch loyalty. Thus, one 
unit commander wrote in 1938: "If we are 
not careful, such organizations as Recon- 
naissance Squadrons will beat us to the 
punch in providing their own means for 
what should be our work." 31 But the basis 
of their arguments was usually a carefully 
reasoned estimate of what a given situation 
would require of military engineers. In the 
reorganization of the infantry division the 
Engineers were faced with a current of 
opinion which would have diminished their 
position and they fought to maintain it, con- 
vinced that the military situation had been 
inadequately evaluated. 

While the Engineers were acutely con- 
scious of the new mobility, it was the vul- 
nerability of vehicles to obstacles which they 
emphasized and on which they based their 
criticisms of the proposed cuts. They insisted 
that the growing use of motor transport de- 
manded more, not less, road work — a fact 
that had not been apparent in the 1937 tests 
where there had been no mud and no shell- 
ing. Predicting that the enemy would at- 
tempt to blow every bridge along a line of 
retreat, the Engineers foresaw a need for 
more bridge building, which would be com- 
plicated by the necessity of supporting 
heavier trucks and tanks. To impede the 
movement of the enemy, on the other hand, 
roadblocks, antitank mines, and demolitions 
along possible avenues of attack had become 
increasingly important. 32 In support of their 
position the Engineers pointed to the pro- 
portion of engineers found in British and 
German divisions and to the remarks of a 
non-Engineer military attache in Germany 
who wrote: 

I have become very much struck in recent 
months here by the enormously increased im- 
portance which the German Engineers are 
receiving. . . . The reason for this increased 
importance is the motorization and mecha- 
nization now taking place in all armies in the 
world. I do not take issue with such mech- 
anization and motorization, but desire to 
point out that there are disadvantages as well 
as advantages thereto, and that no unit of the 
army is better designed to take advantage 
of the weaknesses of motorization than an en- 
gineer unit. 

... By all means motorize a part of our 
army, but by all means also, along with this 
motorization, give to the engineer corps that 
increased importance which is rightfully theirs 
through the sensitiveness of motor transport 
to the demolition and obstruction of routes of 
communication. 33 

The General Staff did not accept the 
1937 tests as conclusive and scheduled more 
extended ones in 1939. For these the engi- 
neer component in the division consisted of 
a battalion of 1 1 officers and 269 enlisted 
men. This was the peace strength of the 
unit; its war strength was 15 officers and 
393 men, about 3.7 percent of the whole 
division. As set up the battalion was re- 
sponsible for reconnaissance, hindering 

30 (1) Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: 
The Operations Division, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), 
pp. 23-24. (2) Ann Rpts OCE, 1939, 1940. (3) 
Longhand notations on memos for CofS. 320.2, 
Pt. 22. 

31 Ltr, Maj Henry Hutchings, Jr., CO 8th Engrs, 
to Godfrey, 13 May 38. O&T Office Study 114, 
EHD files. 

32 (1) Memo, CofEngrs for CofS, 2 May 38, sub: 
Engr Component of the Inf Div. Loose Papers O&T 
Sec, EHD files, Orgn of Inf Div. (2) Lecture, God- 
frey, The Streamlined Division and Its Military 
Component, 9 May 38. 350.001, Pt. 10. 

' ia Extract from a letter from an authoritative 
military observer in Germany, November 1937, Incl, 
with Ltr, ACofEngrs to CofCav, 16 May 38, sub: 
Div Units for Cav Div (Mecz). O&T Office Study 
114, EHD files. 



enemy movements, improving road and 
stream crossings, taking measures for de- 
fense against mechanized attack, and help- 
ing to organize defensive positions. Road 
building, map reproduction beyond simple 
sketching, and emergency bridging were 
cut out so far as divisional engineers were 
concerned. When the Office of the Chief of 
Engineers objected to the elimination of 
floating bridge construction from the bat- 
talion's functions, the War Department 
pointed out that absence of streams in the 
testing area would prevent experimenta- 
tion ! While the Engineers had succeeded 
in securing almost as much relative strength 
in this division as in the one tested in 1937 
they still felt there was a strong sentiment in 
favor of reducing their strength to a 
company. 34 

In September 1939, before the War De- 
partment announced new tables, Schley 
presented his views to the General Staff once 
again. He proposed that the engineer bat- 
talion be organized with a peace strength of 
350 men and a war strength of 520. Al- 
though these numbers were considerably 
less than the 800-man battalion recom- 
mended by the Engineer Board and the 
Engineer School around the same time, or 
the 642-man battalion recommended by 
Schley himself in J 937 when he was com- 
mandant of the Engineer School, their ac- 
ceptance would have raised the wartime 
strength of the engineer component to 4.3 
percent of the division. In support of this 
recommendation, Schley stressed again the 
unrealistic nature of the 1937 and 1939 
tests, where favorable weather and lack of 
destruction had minimized the need for en- 
gineer troops, and called attention to the 
reserve of fire power which the engineers 
could supply. He also noted a new factor — 
the experience of the German Army in Po- 

land — and observed that its rapid advance 
against obstacles "must have demanded a 
great amount of engineer work." 3S The 
General Staff was not persuaded. In Sep- 
tember 1939 the War Department author- 
ized a peace strength battalion of 300 en- 
listed men. Shortly thereafter the battalion's 
war strength was set at 420 enlisted men, or 
3.5 percent of the division. The relative 
strength of engineers in the triangular di- 
vision was thus to be .3 percent less than in 
the square division, but this was a far cry 
from reduction to a company. 

The outbreak of war in Europe had 
meanwhile led the President to increase the 
Regular Army by 1 7,000 men. However in- 
adequate the expansion of the Army, it 
made possible the formation of four more 
triangular divisions and of a few corps and 
army units. In its search for mobility the 
War Department had considered the com- 
position of army corps along with the in- 
fantry division but no firm conclusions had 
been reached. The authorization of more 
manpower and a definite decision on the 
infantry division brought the question up 
again. Under the old Army organization, 
engineer units had been allotted on the basis 
of one general service regiment, three sepa- 
rate battalions, one depot company, and one 
light ponton company to a corps. Since 
under the reorganization many functions 
formerly performed by divisions had been 
relegated to corps, Schley proposed to 
change the character and strength of the 
corps' engineer component. The new or- 
ganization which he recommended in Sep- 

34 The preceding paragraph and the discussion 
following are based upon: (1) Corresp in 320.2, 
Pts. 22, 23; (2) Loose Papers O&T Sec, EHD files, 
Orgn of Inf Div ; (3) O&T Office Study 131, EHD 

"Memo, CofEngrs for CofS, 12 Sep 39, sub: 
Engr Component of Inf Div. 320.2, Pt. 22. 



tember 1939 consisted of a corps combat 
regiment with 700 men in peace and 1,120 
in war, a general service regiment of the 
same strength, and a light ponton company. 
The combat regiment was to reinforce the 
divisional engineer battalion in such opera- 
tions as river crossings. The general service 
regiment, with its heavier equipment, was to 
be responsible for combat-support bridging, 
maintenance of roads and railroads, and 
general construction. The ponton company 
was to maintain a pool of bridging equip- 
ment and boats for assault crossings. 

Although it accepted the strength of the 
general service regiment, the War Depart- 
ment eliminated the light ponton company 
and reduced the war strength of the combat 
regiment to 782 men. In explanation, the 
War Department laid down the principle 
that, as in the case of the division, corps 
troops were to maintain the same ratio to 
over-all strength in war that they had in 
peace, 6.3 percent. This seemed reasonable 
to the General Staff in light of the fact that 
less than half of the 1 1 percent of engineer 
troops in the American Expeditionary Force 
had been assigned to corps. 

In the weeks that followed the engineers 
continued to contend for more troops in 
division and corps — centering their atten- 
tion on proposed war strengths which would 
not have required any immediate increase. 
While acceding to the elimination of the 
ponton company from the corps, OCE sug- 
gested that it be replaced by a topographic 
company to compensate for the reduced 
mapping potential of division engineers. 
Schley and Kingman wrote repeatedly of 
the need for more Engineers. They ques- 
tioned the use of percentages in settling the 
matter and, particularly, the percentages 
used by the War Department. Engineer 
work could not be measured solely by the 

decrease in numbers of divisional troops. 
The area to be covered must be taken into 
consideration, and, with greater mobility, 
the area would probably be larger than be- 
fore. When it suited their purposes, the gen- 
erals used World War I experience, but more 
and more they stressed the current Euro- 
pean war and the fact that the engineers 
were fighters as well as technicians. On 3 
October 1939, Schley wrote caustically: 
"The Germans believe that the modern 
trend toward motorization and mechaniza- 
tion demands a much larger proportion of 
Engineer and other technical troops with the 
combat troops than formerly. We seem to be 
moving in exactly the opposite direction." 30 
The General Staff capitulated under the 
weight and persistence of these arguments. 
By December the War Department had ap- 
proved the topographic company, and a 
war strength of 520 for the engineer bat- 
talion and 1,100 for the combat regiment. 
Engineers now composed 4.3 percent of 
divisional and 8.0 percent of corps strength. 
Thus a relative gain had been made — a gain 
the Engineers had insisted was essential to 
meet the demands of modern warfare. 37 

Formation of Armored and Aviation Units 

Important as it was, the reorganization of 
infantry units was but the first step in the 
tactical reorganization of the Army. In 1939 
the Engineers began to find their place in 
the units that were being evolved to exploit 
the power of the tank and the bomber. In 
general, armored units were to embody the 

38 Memo, GofEngrs for ACofS G-3, 3 Oct 39, 
sub: Orgn of Div and Corps Engr Units. 320.2, 
Pt. 22. 

3T (1) Ltr, AGO to CofEngrs, 11 Dec 39, sub: 
Div and Corps Engrs. 320.2, Pt. 23. (2) T/O 
5-187, 1 Nov 40. 



classic cavalry doctrine of mobility, fire 
power, and shock action. 

During the thirties the Army had organ- 
ized the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized) 
to develop the special techniques of tank 
warfare. Repeatedly, the Chief of Cavalry 
and the Chief of Engineers had recom- 
mended the attachment of an engineer unit 
to the mechanized brigade. This was the 
only way, the Chief of Cavalry pointed out 
in April 1937, to gain practical experience 
in how to increase the mobility of mecha- 
nized cavalry. Lack of funds was the main 
reason for the War Department's disap- 
proval of this proposal. 38 

The most the Engineers could get at this 
time was the assignment of an observer to 
the Cavalry training center at Fort Knox. 
After a short time in this capacity Capt. 
Robert E. York came up with rather moder- 
ate proposals. While he boldly insisted that 
engineer troops would play an important 
role in support of mechanized cavalry, he 
was clearly under the spell of armor's poten- 
tial mobility and was hard put to find spe- 
cific tasks for his own service. The mecha- 
nized brigade would move so fast that only 
minor road repairs could be executed. Con- 
struction of shelters and other buildings 
would be unnecessary in a tactical move- 
ment. Mapping would probably be limited 
to preparing and reproducing sketches and 
overlays from aerial photographs. Recon- 
naissance would be confined to obtaining 
information about obstacles. The removal of 
roadblocks, mine fields and other deliberate 
obstacles, if necessary by demolitions, would 
constitute the main task. But he doubted 
there would be much, if any, need for bridg- 
ing. Detours could in almost all cases be 
made in less time than it would take to con- 
struct a bridge. But despite the nebulous 
nature of these tasks the mechanized cavalry 

insisted on the need for assigning engineer 
troops immediately. Delay in attaching an 
engineer unit, wrote the commanding officer 
of the mechanized brigade, would "retard 
development of the full capabilities of 
mechanized cavalry with respect to its chief 
characteristic, mobility." 30 

At this time OCE's Military Division was 
recommending a squadron whose main 
functions would be reconnaissance, map- 
ping, stream crossing, and the removal and 
construction of obstacles. The following 
May, Kingman also urged the organization 
of a squadron, though he conceded that 
shortages of personnel might not permit a 
unit this large. In January 1 939 the Military 
Division, at the War Department's request, 
submitted a T/O for a troop, a unit that 
Kingman considered adequate for peace- 
time, but too small to function effectively in 
war. Despite all this counseling, another year 
slipped by before the War Department ap- 
proved the activation of the 47th Engineer 
Mechanized Troop with a contingent of 128 
men. Its functions, which Brig. Gen. Adna 
R. Chaffee, the new commander of the 
mechanized brigade, wholeheartedly en- 
dorsed, included demolitions, hasty repairs 
to bridges, and the provision of emergency 
crossings for small streams. The important 
fact was that the Chief of Cavalry and the 
Chief of Engineers now had the oppor- 
tunity they had so long sought — the oppor- 
tunity to arrive at conclusions from actual 

Whereas the Engineers had long been 
conscious of the need for engineer mecha- 

38 The discussion of the formation of engineer 
armored units is based upon ( 1 ) O&T Office Studies 
114 and 155. in EHD files, and (2) Corresp in 
320.2, Pt. 23. 

3 " 4th Ind, ExO 7th Cav Brig to CofEngrs, 15 Oct 
37, on Ltr, York to TAG, 24 Aug 37, sub: Engr 
Component of Cav Brig (Mecz). O&T Office Study 
155, EHD files. 



nized units, it was not until 1939 that they 
realized that similar provision would have 
to be made for the Air Corps. To be sure 
there had been some co-operation on cam- 
ouflage and aerial mapping, but the con- 
struction needs of the Air Corps had 
scarcely been considered. 40 The initiative 
came from the War Department, which, in 
September 1939, asked the Engineers to 
submit T/O's for engineer units of the GHQ 
Air Force (the Air Corps' operating arm). 
In replying, Kingman made a distinction 
between the construction of landing fields 
in forward areas and the more permanent 
bases in the rear. For the first, he proposed 
the creation of an engineer aviation regi- 
ment of three battalions with a total peace 
strength of 43 officers and 1,050 men. It 
was to be trained with the GHQ Air Force 
and to concentrate on "hasty methods of 
utilizing existing facilities for landing fields, 
or improvising new ones." For the more ex- 
tensive and deliberate construction in the 
rear Kingman recommended use of the gen- 
eral service regiment, which would be equal 
to the task after receiving special training 
and equipment. The ultimate size of the 
engineer component of the GHQ Air Force 
was left open pending experience, but King- 
man recommended that one unit of each 
type be constituted. 41 These units were 
needed to work out new methods of emer- 
gency runway construction, camouflage, 
and bomb and fuel transportation, as well 
as for the supply of power, water, and other 
utilities. "There is so much for Engineer 
troops to do to make the GHQ Air Force 
more effective on M-day," Maj, Gen. Delos 
C. Emmons, commander of the GHO Air 
Force, wrote in February 1940, "that there 
can be no question as to the immediate need 
for the units above recommended. Much 
of this necessary development has been neg- 

lected because of the lack heretofore of En- 
gineer troops with the Air Corps." 42 The 
Engineers decided to convert a general serv- 
ice regiment into an engineer aviation regi- 
ment after the April-May 1940 maneu- 
vers. 43 

The Impact of the German Blitzkrieg 

The maneuvers of 1940 and 1941 were 
to form the basis for further changes in engi- 
neer organization and equipment. But in 
the spring of 1940 the lessons to be learned 
from maneuvers were overshadowed by the 
German blitzkrieg. The fall of France and 
the Low Countries and the retreat of the 
British to their island caused an explosive 
reaction in American thought. The United 
States was jarred into an expansion of its 
military forces that overwhelmed previous 
planning. By the end of June Congress had 
authorized a Regular Army of 375,000 men, 
and before the summer was out had pro- 
vided for calling up the National Guard and 
for the unprecedented institution of a peace- 
time draft. 

Whereas the Polish campaign in the fall 
of 1939 had reinforced the arguments of 
those who predicted a return to open war- 
fare, the retirement behind fortified posi- 
tions which characterized the "phony war" 
the following winter had caused some to pre- 

40 (1) Memo, ExO Mil Div for CofEngrs, 21 Feb 
39. 475, Engr Equip, Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, Lt Col J. A. 
Dorst to Lt Col L. E. Atkins, 6 May 39. 210.3, 
Air Forces, Pt. 1. (3) Ltr, Atkins to Dorst, 17 May 

39. Same file. 

41 1st Ind, 16 Oct 39, on AG Ltr 320.2 (9-19- 
39) P (c) to CofEngrs, 21 Sep 39, sub: T/Os. 
320.2, Pt. 22. 

" Memo, CG GHQ Air Force for CofAC, 6 Feb 

40. 320.2, Pt. 24. 

13 (1) 3d Ind, Actg CofEngrs (Kingman) to 
TAG, 21 Feb 40, on memo cited n. 41. 320.2, Pt. 
24. (2) Info Bull 45, 13 May 40, Changes in Orgn 
of Engr Units. 



diet a repetition of World War I tactics. In 
March 1940 Godfrey had written: "No de- 
velopment in recent warfare has been more 
striking than the renaissance of deliberate 
land fortifications. The Maginot Line and 
the West Wall have rendered quiescent the 
threat of an offensive on the West Front." 44 
The German attack in the spring of 1940 
banished this idea once and for all. But to 
the Engineers the blitzkrieg meant more 
than the triumph of mobile warfare. To 
them the blitzkrieg, in which German engi- 
neers took a prominent part, offered sure 
and final proof of their claim to an en- 
hanced combat role. 

The person who did most to publicize this 
conviction was Capt. Paul W. Thompson, 
who had been in Germany as a military ob- 
server shortly before the outbreak of the 
war. In May 1940, Godfrey recommended 
that Thompson be called to OCE to analyze 
reports from abroad. 4 r ' The analysis of the 
blitzkrieg which Thompson made from Ger- 
man published sources received widespread 
attention throughout the Army. His first 
article appeared in the September-October 

1940 issue of the Infantry Journal. By April 

1941 the editor of the magazine considered 
Thompson "one of the wheelhorses of the 
corps of Journal authors," and within the 
next eight months published five articles 
under Thompson's name. At the same time 
Thompson was writing extensively for The 
Military Engineer, the journal of the So- 
ciety of American Military Engineers. In 
the January February 1941 issue he began 
to publish a series called "Engineers in Bat- 
tle." In September, the editor of The Mili- 
tary Engineer remarked on the popularity of 
the articles, and upon the publication of the 
last one in December announced that the 
series would be issued in book form. 

In writing for the two periodicals Thomp- 

son tailored his presentation to his audience. 
Most of his articles in the Infantry Journal 
were general descriptions in which engineer 
troops were mentioned only incidentally. 
He did, however, call attention to matters 
which were the particular concern of engi- 
neers — the character of the terrain, the road 
net, the rivers and canals. 46 His "Engineers 
in Battle" series was naturally concerned al- 
most exclusively with the role of engineers. 

Typical of Thompson's descriptions of the 
exploits of German engineer troops was his 
"Engineers in the Blitzkrieg," which was 
published in the Infantry Journal. In this 
article Thompson stressed particularly the 
contribution of German engineers to the fall 
of Fort Eben-Emael. The capture of Eben- 
Emael in Belgium was a crucial point in the 
German plan of attack. Considered by the 
Allies almost impregnable, the fort had been 
effectively neutralized and forced to sur- 
render in well under forty-eight hours. As 
Thompson described the action from the 
sources available to him an initial heavy 
bombardment had been followed by pene- 
tration by engineer parachute troops. An 
engineer battalion, reinforced with infantry, 
arrived on the outside of the fort and estab- 
lished contact with the parachutists within. 
After this, in Thompson's words: 

The AA guns went into battery, firing direct 
at the ports of individual works. The infantry 
prepared to repulse any sorties or counter- 
attack. The engineers crawled forward, con- 
centrating on certain individual works. They 
carried their explosives, grenades, smoke 

" Memo, C of O&T Sec for CofEngrs, 7 Mar 40, 
sub: Land Defenses. 660, Harbor Defense (S). 

4S (1) Infantry Journal, XLVII (September-Oc- 
tober 1940), 521. (2) Memo, C of O&T Sec. for 
CofEngrs, 24 May 40, sub: Engr Intel. 091, Ger- 
many, Pt. 6. 

" Thompson articles in the Infantry Journal, 
XLVII, XLVIII, XLVIX (September 1940- 
February 1941) and in The Military Engineer, 
XXXIII (1941). 



candles, flame-throwers, poles, and other 
equipment. . . . Finally, they reached the 
outer walls of the works themselves. 

Here the scene must have been one of terri- 
fying action. Flame-throwers are playing 
against ports, grenades are bursting, projec- 
tiles from the AA guns are ricocheting, and 
engineer soldiers are hugging the dead spaces, 
throwing and placing their charges. With 
their explosives they are attacking the sensi- 
tive parts of the work, the ports, the turrets, 
the hinges. 47 

In a number of respects Thompson's report 
on the capture of Fort Eben-Emael was in 
error. The parachutists arrived before the 
bombers ; the defenders held out longer than 
he believed. But he did not overestimate the 
decisive part played by German engineers 
in their employment of explosives. 48 

In expounding the role played by engi- 
neer troops in the capture of Fort Eben- 
Emael, Thompson and other Engineer com- 
mentators were aware that in the American 
Army assault of permanent fortifications 
was fundamentally an infantry mission. 
They were aware as well of other differences 
between the German engineer and his 
American counterpart. The German engi- 
neer was trained as an infantry soldier first 
and as a technician second. His main job 
was combat engineering. Road building and 
other construction (except for emergency 
bridging) was left to the semimilitary Ar- 
beitsdienst (Labor Service) and the Or- 
ganization Todt. Thompson warned against 
blindly accepting German doctrine, noting 
particularly that it had been developed to 
meet a specific enemy in a specific theater 
of operations : 

Wc must ourselves keep in mind the possi- 
bility of operating under widely varying con- 
ditions — conditions where water supply might 
be more important than assault tactics, where 
labor battalions from the interior might not 
be available on call, or where our own air 

superiority might not be such as to make of 
camouflage a superfluous art. 

But he continued : 

There is one conclusion . . . which is in- 
contestable (and obvious). It has to do with 
the intimate coordination which must exist 
between members of the combat team. The 
German blitz campaigns have demonstrated 
this fact more forcibly, perhaps, than it ever 
before has been demonstrated. And as a corol- 
lary fact, the campaigns have demonstrated 
that the engineers are now an elite member 
of the team. 4 " 

An elite member of the combat team — it 
was a refrain repeated over and over, and 
not merely by the Engineers themselves. A 
report of the Military Intelligence Division 
of the War Department General Staff had 
this to say: 

The results of the two recent major cam- 
paigns, Poland and the West Front, are elo- 
quent testimonials to the importance of 
combat engineers. Formerly it was the in- 
fantry and the artillery team that was all im- 
portant, but in the light of recent operations 
the combat engineers take their place beside 
the artillery, so essential are their functions 
to the success of ground troops/' 

Pointing to German tactics, Schley recom- 
mended in July 1940 that the War Depart - 

" Paul W. Thompson, "Engineers in the Blitz- 
krieg," Infantry Journal, XLVII (September- 
October 1940), 429. This article was distributed as 
Information Bulletin 63, 31 October 1940. 

48 A detailed account of the operation, translated 
from foreign sources, is contained in Hq EUCOM 
Hist Div, The 7th Infantry Division on the Albert 
Canal, Pt. 8, "The Battle of Fort Eben-Emael, 10 
and 11 May 1940." MS, OCMH. 

"(1 ) Paul W. Thompson, "Engineers in the Blitz- 
krieg," Infantry Journal, XLVII (September-Oc- 
tober 1940), 432. (2) See also, Address, Maj. Gen. 
J. L. Schley, The Engineer and National Defense, 18 
Sep 40, EHD files, and Rpt, Assault of Defensive 
Installations, 29 Nov 40, First Research Course, 
Vol. I, Engr. Sch. Library. 

MID WD, Tentative Lessons Bull 9, 5 Jul 40, 
sub: Preliminary Mil Attache Rpt From Berlin on 
West Front Opns, May 40. 091, Germany, Pt. 6. 



ment provide for joint exercises with other 
arms in the attack on fortified positions, but 
he was told that engineer techniques would 
have to be perfected first. Before this reply 
had arrived, the Engineers began to plan a 
research course which would examine and 
improve upon the tactics used in the battles 
of Europe. In the fall of 1940 and again in 
the spring of 1941 officers from nearly all 
engineer units and from a number of other 
branches of the service were brought for 
several weeks' stay at the Engineer School. 
After a period of orientation they were as- 
signed to committees to explore designated 
topics. 81 

These topics reflected, in nearly all cases, 
the combat rather than the technical aspects 
of military engineering. Thus eight of twelve 
subjects studied in the first course were con- 
cerned with tactics and techniques of the 
assault in four different types of opera- 
tions — against an organized position, against 
obstacles in barrier zones, against organized 
river lines, against enemy air bases. But some 
of the committees accorded more attention 
to the assault tactics of foreign armies and 
the duties of engineer troops in defense 
against them than to the role of engineers in 
overcoming the defenses of an enemy. This 
approach was true of the committee on bar- 
rier tactics, the committee on obstacles, the 
committee on deliberate field fortifications, 
and the committee on what began as the as- 
sault on, and became the defense of, air 
bases. These groups weighed the value of 
various obstacles in the light of their effec- 
tiveness against trucks and tanks, concluding 
in general that engineer troops should be 
particularly skilled in laying mine fields (for 
mines were the most effective obstacle for 
hasty defenses ) , and that the construction of 
large-scale fortifications was unnecessary in 
the continental United States and would be 

impossible to execute in an overseas 
theater. 52 

Several committees proposed a radical 
change in the doctrine on assault. Instead 
of being restricted to the removal of barbed 
wire, mines, and roadblocks, the American 
engineer, like the German, should also be 
charged with the duty of reducing concrete 
and steel emplacements. In a river crossing, 
engineer troops should be integrated into 
the assault team after they had delivered 
it to the enemy-held shore. In ship-to-shore 
amphibious landings, engineer soldiers 
would assume the lead in demolishing pill- 
boxes and other fortifications. A repre- 
sentative of the field artillery registered vig- 
orous dissent : 

Engineers have always been charged with 
duties involving "watermanship" and will 
presumably always conduct or supervise river 
crossings but, to imply that they should con- 
duct assaults after a river is crossed is no more 
proper than it is to conclude that they are 
fitted to drive a tank because they have 
ferried it across a stream. ... As respects 
the essential skills it is obvious that engineers 
are more competent in the employment of 
explosives than infantrymen and that in- 
fantrymen are normally more thoroughly 
trained in combat firing and scouting and 
patrolling. . . . 

The choice, it seemed to him, was to train 
a very few infantrymen in the art of demoli- 

51 (1) Ltr, CofEngrs to CofS, 24 Jul 40, sub: 
Assault Opns, with 1st Ind AG 370.2 (8-24-40) 
M-C to CofEngrs, 13 Sep 40. Sup Sec Rqmts Br 
Gen Staff (G-4). (2) 2d Wrapper Ind, Comdt 
Engr Sch to CofEngrs, 1 2 Aug 40, on AG Ltr 352.01 
(7-26-40) M-C to CofEngrs, 31 Jul 40, sub: 
Courses at Special Sv Schs. 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 9. 

52 The foregoing and following discussion of the 
research courses is based upon the reports in : ( 1 ) 
Info Bull 71, 2 Jan 41, sub: Mission, Duties, and 
Tng of Div Engrs; (2) First Research Course, 21 
Oct-30 Nov 40, Vol. I ; (3) Second Research 
Course, 1 Feb-1 Mar 41, Vols. I and II. The Re- 
search Courses are in the Engineer School Library. 



tions or to train many engineer soldiers in 
the art of shooting. 53 

The committees which denned the mis- 
sion of infantry and armored divisional en- 
gineers followed much the same pattern. 
Although they believed the need for build- 
ing permanent roads and bridges had been 
underestimated as a result of the blitzkrieg, 
they agreed that divisional engineers could 
not be expected to carry out this work. Di- 
visional engineers would be much too busily 
occupied in emergency work on roads and 
bridges, removal of mines and roadblocks, 
reduction of organized defenses, and con- 
struction and defense of mine fields and 
other such hasty offensive and defensive 

In addition to the many pronouncements 
about Engineer doctrine, the committees 
had much to say about methods of training 
and about the development of new equip- 
ment — so much so that the O&T Section 
felt that many officers had been carried 
away by their enthusiasm. The demands for 
new equipment were "excessive." The ideas 
on the training of Air Corps units were un- 
sound as were the recommendations on the 
construction of deliberate fortifications and 
the proposals for giving radios to engineer 
units when wave lengths were already 

But the enthusiasm created was not to be 
lightly dismissed. Thinking had been 
stimulated and confidence reasserted. Once 
back with their units the officers who had 
attended the research course shared their 
experiences. Moreover, many of the reports 
were published for circulation within the 
Corps, and some of the recommendations 
found their way into field manuals. 54 When 
Kingman submitted the two volumes of re- 
ports to the Chief of Staff he pointed out 
that they contained no radical departure 

from existing doctrine — merely modifica- 
tions to meet demands for speeding up 
operations — and concluded with the prem- 
ise on which the course had been given in 
the first place: "A fresh emphasis was 
placed upon the combat function of en- 
gineers." 55 

Changes in General Units After the 

Insofar as the blitzkrieg in the West had 
served to quicken the interest in the role of 
engineer troops its effect was vital but at 
the same time intangible. Insofar as the 
blitzkrieg led to a large-scale expansion of 
American military strength its effect was 
both decisive and practical. 

The spring 1940 maneuvers had pro- 
vided engineer troops with a better oppor- 
tunity for demonstrating their usefulness 
than had the earlier tests of the infantry 
division. There were streams to bridge and 
there was some rain. Commanders made 
extensive use of simulated roadblocks. It 
became standard practice to attach a pla- 
toon of the engineer combat battalion to 
each of the division's three combat teams. 
Engineer officers came away from the 
maneuvers convinced the exercises had 
shown that the engineer component of the 

03 Minority Rpt, Assault of Defensive Installa- 
tions, 29 Nov 40. First Research Course, Vol. I, 
p. 25. 

"(1) Memo, ExO O&T Sec for Godfrey, 17 
Jan 41, sub: Atchd Recommendations, with Incl. 
(2) Ltr, AC of O&T Sec to Godfrey, 25 Mar 41, 
sub: Info Bull based on First Research Course. (3) 
Memo, Engr GHQ Air Force for Maj Joseph S. 
Gorlinski, 26 Feb 41, sub: Rpt of Research Comm, 
Defense of Air Bases. All in 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 

00 Memo, ACof Engrs for Cof S, 29 Jan 41, sub: 
Rpt on Special Research Course on the Technique 
of Assault Opns at Engr Sch. 352.11, Engr Sch, 
Pt. 10. 



infantry division was too small and they 
were satisfied that this fact had been im- 
pressed upon infantry officers as well. 56 

The Military Division sought immedi- 
ately to capitalize upon these feelings, but 
was at pains to stay within the limits of what 
the General Staff might be willing to ap- 
prove in view of the then small size of the 
Army. Thus Maj. Clarence L. Adcock, 
OCE's executive officer, suggested early in 
May that the Corps recommend an in- 
crease in the headquarters detachment from 
30 to 60 men. By June, however, the suc- 
cess of the German blitzkrieg in the West 
was pointing to further expansion of the 
armed forces. Godfrey, viewing the expected 
increase as an opportunity to make bolder 
recommendations, asked the Engineer 
School to review the entire subject afresh. 
Toward the end of June, Col. Creswell Gar- 
lington, speaking for the school and the 
Engineer Board, recommended a minimum 
battalion strength of 600 to 700 men both 
in peace and in war. If it was felt this request 
would be turned down, he proposed that the 
increases be made under the following pri- 
orities — first, increase the headquarters and 
headquarters detachment to 80; second, in- 
crease the squad from 10 to 12; third, add 
a third platoon to each company; and 
fourth, add a fourth lettered company to 
each battalion. For the present he suggested 
that peace strength be at least 400 and war 
strength a minimum of 700. 57 

In July OCE forwarded a table of or- 
ganization to the General Staff calling for 
a peace strength of 480 and a war strength 
of 720. Soon thereafter the promise of men 
from Selective Service permitted the War 
Department to plan for further revisions in 
the triangular division and to use one 
strength for both peace and war. As a re- 
sult, the engineer combat battalion was re- 

organized in October into a headquarters 
company and three lettered companies of 
three platoons each. The total strength of 
the battalion was fixed at 18 officers and 616 
men. The fourth company was disapproved, 
largely because of the opposition of Brig. 
Gen. Lesley J. McNair, then Chief of Staff, 
General Headquarters, and formerly an ad- 
vocate of a single company for division engi- 
neers. The present engineer battalion, Mc- 
Nair argued, was already almost as large 
as the engineer regiment of the old square 
division, and unless the pressure from En- 
gineers and other branches was resisted, the 
triangular division would become as un- 
wieldy as the organization it had replaced. 68 
The successes of the German panzer divi- 
sions in the spring of 1 940 added spectacular 
support to those who were advocating a 
separate mechanized force within the 
United States Army and led to the creation 
of the Armored Force in July. Two armored 
divisions were activated with an engineer 
battalion in each. When advance notices in- 
dicated that the strength of the engineer 

* Various reports of maneuvers are in 354.2 and 
354.2, Bulky. See Information Bulletin 51, 26 July 
1940, Third Army Maneuvers, April-May 1940, for 
key extracts from the reports of Engineer officers. 

"(1) Memo (with atchd routing slip), ExO 
OCE for Kingman, 8 May 40, sub: Rpt on IV 
Corps Maneuvers at Ft. Benning. 354.2, Pt. 7 A. 
(2) Memo, C of O&T Sec for Comdt Engr Sch 
[Jun 40], sub: T/O for Increased Strength for 
Div Engr Bn. 320.2, Pt. 24. (3) Ltr, Comdt Engr 
Sch to CofEngrs, 27 Jun 40, same sub. 320.2, 
Pt. 25. 

58 ( 1 ) Memo, C of O&T Sec for ExO OCE, 5 
Jul 40, sub: Resume of Activities O&T Sec, 28 Jun- 
5 Jul 40. 025, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, ACofS G-3 for 
CofEngrs, 10 Aug 40, sub: T/Os. 320.2, Pt. 25. (3) 
AG Ltr 320.2 (8-31-40) M (Ret) M-C to COs 
All Corps Areas, 10 Sep 40, sub: Reorgn of Tri- 
angular Div. 320.2, Pt. 25. (4) Memo, Col J. C. 
Mehaffey, I Corps Engr, for Adcock, 24 Mar 41, 
sub: Orgn of Engr Bn (Combat) Triangular Div. 
320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. (5) T/O 5-75, 1 
Oct 40. AG 320.2 (7-19-40) (2). 



armored battalion would be only 281, Gen- 
eral Schley protested that German break- 
through tactics involved the extensive use of 
engineers. The panzer division had an engi- 
neer battalion consisting of three large com- 
panies plus a bridge train. For the engineer 
element in the American armored division 
OCE suggested a peace strength of 473 and 
a war strength of 620. Although the War 
Department explained that the battalion's 
initial strength would be limited by the 
availability of personnel in a 375,000-man 
army, the first battalions were activated un- 
der tables of organization calling for 466 
men in a battalion made up of three lettered 
companies and a headquarters company. 58 

Shortly thereafter men became available 
through the draft. The Armored Force then 
proposed a revision that not only increased 
the battalion to 7 1 2 men but, like the Ger- 
man panzer division, included a bridge 
company as well as three lettered companies. 
Although the inclusion of the bridge com- 
pany was criticized later, its presence in the 
engineer armored battalion was logical in 
view of the expectation that armored divi- 
sions, unlike infantry, would usually operate 
at some distance from corps troops. 80 

During the summer of 1 940 the composi- 
tion of corps engineers changed too. Under 
the T/O's for combat and general service 
regiments there had been little difference 
between the two units in peacetime strength 
and equipment. The general service regi- 
ment had been made similar to the combat 
regiment by eliminating skilled men for 
heavier types of work in concrete, railroad, 
and road construction and by adding assault 
boats and mines. The major differences 
between the two units were the greater 
capacity and weight of the power shovel in 
the general service regiment and its larger 
number of skilled men. The Engineer School 

had argued that it would be preferable to 
have two combat regiments in a corps and 
keep the old general service regiment for 
heavier work in rear areas. In reviewing 
these tables, the War Department also noted 
their similarity and suggested one table for 
both. While OCE recognized this fact, it 
had wished to postpone a change until both 
organizations had been tested. After the 
April-May 1940 maneuvers, in which the 
units were used indiscriminately, Kingman 
agreed that the two engineer regiments in 
the army corps should be combat regiments, 
the general service regiment to be relegated 
to rear areas for heavy work. As the Army 
obtained more men, both the combat regi- 
ment and the general service regiment fol- 
lowed the combat battalion in converting to 
single strength tables and in securing in- 
creases in the number 'of enlisted men. By 
the end of the year both regiments had 
T/O's calling for over 1,220 men each — 
about 100 more than Schley had called for 
in September 1939. 61 

Like the combat battalion, the armored 
battalion, and the combat regiment, the en- 
gineer aviation regiment was classified as a 

" (1) History of the Armored Force, Command 
and Center (AGF Hist Sec Study 27, 1946), pp. 
7-8. (2) Memo, CofEngrs for ACofS G-3, 22 Jun 
40, sub: Engr Component for Armd Div. 320.2, 
Pt. 24. (3) 1st Ind, AG 320.2 (6-22-40) M (Ret) 
TAG to CofEngrs on same memo, 16 Jul 40. 320.2, 
Pt. 25. (4) Memo, C of O&T Sec for ExO OCE, 5 
Jul 40, sub: Resume of Activities O&T Sec, 28 
Jun— 5 Jul 40. 025, Pt. 1. (5) 10th Ind (basic 
missing), CG Armd Force to TAG, 22 Oct 40, 
Incl, with Ltr, Capt Bruce C. Clarke to Godfrey, 
22 Oct 40. 400.34, Armd Comd. 

" ( 1 ) Ind and ltr cited n. 59 (5). (2) Greenfield, 
Palmer, and Wiley, op. cit., p. 278. (3) Col. Luns- 
ford E. Oliver, "Engineers With the Armored 
Force," The Military Engineer, XXXIII (Septem- 
ber, 1941), 397. 

" (1) 320.2, Pts. 23, 24. (2) Info Bull 85, 18 
Apr 41, sub: Road Work in Theaters of Mil Opn. 
(3) T/O 5-21 and T/O 5-171, 1 Nov 40. 



general unit, designed for general engineer 
work. The Engineers considered it a com- 
bat unit, not a service unit. Although its 
primary mission was to build airfields, the 
Engineers anticipated that the unit would 
generally operate without support from 
other ground troops. Aviation engineers 
would be called upon to defend airfields 
from enemy attack and to clear surrounding 
areas of enemy resistance. 62 

During the months following activation 
of the first engineer aviation regiment, Lt. 
Col. Donald A. Davison served as Engineer, 
GHQ Air Force. He and his executive, Capt. 
Rudolph E. Smyser, Jr., pioneered in study- 
ing the organization and equipment of avia- 
tion engineers. As in the case of other general 
engineer units, the aviation regiment's au- 
thorized strength was revised upward as its 
officers gained experience and the Army 
increased in size. In March 1941 its T/O 
called for 2,153 enlisted men. Even in an 
expanding Army it was difficult to allot men 
in such numbers. In October 1940 the 
GHQ Air Force recommended one engi- 
neer aviation regiment for each of four air 
districts and one for GHQ reserve but limi- 
tations on personnel allowed for an allot- 
ment of only 2,898 aviation engineers in all. 
Consequently, requirements for aviation en- 
gineers at overseas bases and in the various 
air districts had to be met by the assignment 
of separate companies. Nevertheless, both 
the GHQ Air Force and the Corps of Engi- 
neers continued to think in terms of regi- 
ments in their plans for expansion. 63 

Finally, in March 1941 , the General Staff 
saw its way clear to authorize an expansion 
of aviation engineers to 6,300. About this 
time Smyser, just returned from a tour of 
observation in the British Isles, recom- 
mended the organization of separate engi- 
neer aviation battalions instead of regi- 

ments, pointing out that the battalion was 
sufficiently large to build one airfield in a 
reasonable time. Accordingly, the plan 
submitted by Kingman for the projected 
expansion provided for a regiment in GHQ 
reserve, a battalion for each of four air 
forces (formerly air districts), and battal- 
ions, where possible, for overseas bases. 
Since the battalion was not equipped to per- 
form the topographic, camouflage, and 
supply functions handled by regimental 
headquarters, a headquarters company for 
each air force was to be organized." 

Just as construction requirements de- 
termined that the aviation battalion would 
be the basic engineer aviation unit, they also 
fixed the place of engineers in the Army Air 
Forces. In the fall of 1941 each air force 
was organized so that all activities dealing 
with air bases and services, including the 
engineers, were placed under a service 
command, a step which caused Godfrey to 
comment : 

" 2 (1) Ltr, AGofEngrs to TAG, 21 Jun 40, sub: 
Issue of U. S. Rifle Cal .30 Ml for Engr Regt, Avn. 
400.34, Pt. 36. (2) Info Bull 74, 13 Jan 41, sub: 
Defense of Air Bases. 

ra ( 1) Ltr, CofS GHQ Air Force to TAG, 24 Oct 

40, sub: CofEngr Sv with GHQ Air Force. 320.2, 
GHQ Air Force. (2) Memo, O&T Sec for King- 
man, 21 Dec 40, sub: Equip and Orgn of Avn Cos. 
320.2, Pt. 26. (3) 1st Ind, 4 Mar 41, on Ltr, ExO 
Plans Div Office of CofAC to CofEngrs, 15 Feb 

41, sub: Rev Basis of Allot, Engr Trps With Air 
Corps. 320.2, Pt. 27. (4) T/O 5-411, 20 Mar 41. 
(5) Conf, 22 Nov 40, sub: Increases in Avn Engrs. 
OCofS, Notes on Confs (S). 

114 (1) Memo, ACof Engrs for ACofS G-3, 27 
Mar 41, sub: Increase in Avn Engr Strength. 320.2, 
Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. (2) Memo, Actg ACofS 
G-3 for CofEngrs, 17 Feb 41, sub: T/Os Avn Engr 
Units. 320.2, Air Corps, Pt. 2. (3) Info Bull 74, 
13 Jan 41, sub: Defense of Air Bases. (4) Ltr, Col 
Rudolph E. Smyser, Jr., to OCMH, 24 Dec. 53. 

(5) Wkly Rpts O&T Sec, Feb-Apr 41. EHD files. 

(6) Col. Stuart C. Godfrey, "Engineers With the 
Army Air Forces," The Military Engineer, XXXIII 
(November, 1941 ), 487-91. 



At first thought, it is somewhat unpalatable 
for us to think of aviation engineer troops as 
part of a service command. The Corps of 
Engineers is an arm, not a service. However, 
I think we cannot quarrel with the logic of 
this set-up as far as an Air Force is concerned. 
In case of a large program of new construc- 
tion, a separate construction organization 
seems to be indicated. 05 

Godfrey's distaste for the service classifi- 
cation of engineer troops is understandable 
in view of the emphasis on combat units in 
the pre-Pearl Harbor years. Yet on the 
whole the Engineers could look back with 
some satisfaction to their success in adapting 
their organization to new demands from the 
Air Forces, the Armored Force, and the 
Infantry. Though they had to fight to main- 
tain their position the Engineers were able 
to convince the Army that mobile warfare 
did not decrease the necessity for engineers, 
but rather emphasized their importance. 
Not all engineer units had achieved a desired 

reorganization and there was a lack of 
harmony between theory and practice, but 
by Pearl Harbor the b isic adjustment to a 
war of movement had been made. 

The emphasis on combat organizations 
which dominated Engineer thought in the 
prewar years delayed consideration of 
special units. During the first nine months 
after the outbreak of war in Europe only a 
few of these had any real existence, but as 
the Army expanded in 1941 the Engineers 
were able to activate camouflage, ponton, 
water supply, dump truck, depot, shop, and 
additional topographic units. Changes in 
doctrine and organization then became sub- 
ject to practical test and will be discussed 
in connection with the development of 
equipment with which the special as well as 
general units were so intimately connected. 

* Ltr, Godfrey to Maj Lee B. Washbourne, 805th 
Engr Bn (Avn) (Sep), 26 Sep 41. 320.2, 805th 


The Revolution in Equipment 

The vigor displayed by the Engineers in 
arguing their case before higher echelons 
was equally evident in exhortations toward 
members of the Corps itself. The Engineer 
mission had not diminished but had gained 
in importance. Engineer techniques must 
match the tempo of the new tactics, ran the 
message of an Information Bulletin issued 
in July 1940. Engineer work must be carried 
out "at top speed." 1 The way troops were 
organized and the thoroughness with which 
they were trained would go a long way in 
support of this objective. But as basic to the 
creation of a new Corps of Engineers as to 
the creation of a new Army was the adop- 
tion of modern equipment. Since the Engi- 
neers were most concerned about their ad- 
justment to the new tactics of infantry, 
armor, and air they were particularly in- 
terested in improving means for hasty road 
repair, emergency bridging, and construc- 
tion of airfields. But no phase of engineer 
activity — whether in front lines ot in rear 
areas — was left untouched by the revolu- 
tion in equipment which occurred during 
the experimental years before Pearl Harbor. 

The Process of Selection 

Most of the steps in the selection of new 
equipment were carried out by the Engineer 
Board at Fort Belvoir, yet all sections of the 
Military Division were involved in the proc- 
ess to some extent. The Operations and 

Training Section determined the military 
need for each item. The Intelligence Section 
advised the board on mapping equipment. 
The Supply Section gave its views on sources 
of production. The group which worked 
most closely with the Engineer Board, the 
Development Branch, Supply Section, con- 
sidered whether or not a particular line of 
development was feasible, offered technical 
guidance to the board's staff, and passed 
upon the recommendations made. 

Other helpful sources existed outside the 
Military Division. Much was learned from 
industry and the professions serving indus- 
try because most engineer equipment was 
either a standard commercial product or a 
modification of something already on the 
market. Other arms and services, par- 
ticularly the Engineer officers serving with 
them, contributed concrete suggestions as 
well as complaints which spurred the Engi- 
neer Board to attempt improvements. The 
advice of the Navy and Marine Corps was 
sought in connection with camouflage, land- 
ing boats, and water purification. The 
Bureau of Standards conducted tests from 
time to time. After the organization of the 
National Defense Research Committee in 
June 1940, the Engineers utilized its facili- 
ties. Persons with something to sell, inven- 
tors, and just plain citizens offered their bit. 
Nevertheless, most suggestions about new 

"Info Bull 50, 18 Jul 40, Mobility— and the 



equipment originated in the Military Divi- 
sion in Washington or with the Engineer 
Board at Fort Belvoir. These agencies 
sought out new ideas in domestic and for- 
eign technical magazines, sent representa- 
tives to meetings of technical societies, and 
scanned numerous patents. Particularly 
after the German advance into France, in- 
telligence reports and general news items 
were studied intensively. As the ties with 
Britain were strengthened, Engineer offi- 
cers were sent abroad to exchange infor- 

Memoranda, letters, and reports about 
new work to be undertaken and work al- 
ready under way at the Engineer Board 
came to the "in" box of Maj. Claude H. 
Chorpening, the chief of the Development 
Branch. Five and a half years at Fort Peck 
Dam, Montana, had taught him much 
about construction machinery. Chorpening 
gradually filled out his staff so that by sum- 
mer 1941 it consisted of fourteen civil, elec- 
trical, and mechanical engineers, five of 
whom he had worked with at Fort Peck. 

The close link between the Engineer 
Board and the Military Division was one 
way of assuring unity in doctrine, training, 
and equipment. Another was provided by 
drawing together the Engineer Board and 
the Engineer School. The Engineer Board 
in the formal sense consisted of a group of 
seven officers. By custom its president was 
the commandant of the Engineer School 
and at least two of its members were on that 
faculty. Two others might be on duty at 
OCE or at the school. Only two members, 
its executive officer and his assistant, were 
on the board's operating staff. The formal 
board of seven officers came together for two 
purposes — to witness demonstrations and 
tests of equipment, and to pass upon recom- 

Although the president of the Engineer 
Board exercised general supervision in mat- 
ters of policy, it was the executive officer 
who was the active head and general man- 
ager. From 1936 until his death in October 
1939, the executive officer was Capt. James 
M. Young, who came to Fort Belvoir after 
supervising a number of New Deal construc- 
tion projects in the west. Captain Young's 
successor, Capt. William C. Baker, Jr., had 
been assistant executive officer since July 

During Young's tenure at the board funds 
were meager, part of its physical plant was 
run down, and its staff was small. During 
the fiscal year 1939, for example, Young 
had less than $100,000 at his disposal. Much 
of it went into patching up the World War 
I barracks, where offices and drafting rooms 
were located, and the two sheds and two 
warehouses, which also dated from 1918. 
By contrast, the shop and laboratory build- 
ing, finished in 1935, took little from the 
budget. It was modern and sufficiently 
spacious for the experimental work of the 
six officers and forty civilians at the board 
in 1939. With so few employees, specializa- 
tion was out of the question. As a conse- 
quence, the board's organization was loose 
and the work performed by most person- 
nel ranged over several subjects. In addi- 
tion to his administrative duties Young 
carried a heavy load, working on bridging, 
construction machinery, and demolitions. 

Money to add more officers, hire more 
civilians, and provide more suitable facilities 
was forthcoming after the fall of 1939. The 
funds available in 1939-40 jumped to over 
$300,000, the year following to over $2,- 
000,000. By June 1940, Baker was directing 
a staff of 5 officers and 100 civilians. By 
June 1941 there were 453 civilian em- 
ployees and 38 officers on full-time duty, 



including one each from Field Artillery, 
Ordnance, and Air Corps. 

The increase in funds for salaries and 
equipment gradually created an opportu- 
nity to specialize and to carry out a thorough 
program of study and tests. By 1 July 1941, 
the jobs assigned the board had been broken 
down and employees given specific duties in 
the many administrative units created. At 
this time 35 percent of the personnel were 
in the Engineering Division where the de- 
velopment program was concentrated, 44 
percent in the Operations Division whose 
main job was the manufacture of search- 
light mirrors, and 21 percent in the Admin- 
istrative Division. 

As personnel was hired and the board 
overflowed into another old barracks and 
a portable building, Kingman and Chor- 
pening sought means of providing a modern 
plant. With $2,800,000 allotted from the 
President's Emergency Fund they con- 
tracted for the construction of twenty-four 
permanent buildings, including three for 
offices, two for general storage, a central 
heating plant, and numerous special shops 
and laboratories. Begun in July 1941, none 
of the buildings was finished until after 
Pearl Harbor. Lack of suitable facilities 
plagued the board's personnel before and 
throughout the defense period. 2 

Despite shortages of personnel and lack 
of facilities much was accomplished, par- 
ticularly in the year and a half before Pearl 
Harbor. In the period May 1930-May 1940 
only 34 single items and sets were added to 
the organizational equipment of engineer 
troop units. Between May 1940 and Oc- 
tober 1941 the total number of single pieces 
of equipment rose from 22 to 139 and the 
number of sets from 40 to 79. 3 Over and 
above these additions to the table of basic 

allowances the Engineers tested and selected 
some equipment to be held in depots for 
issue as construction projects demanded. 

From Hand Tools to Power Machinery 

During World War I as throughout the 
previous century the pick and shovel had 
been the symbol of the engineer soldier, 
expressing both the overwhelming impor- 
tance of construction as an engineer duty 
and the reliance on manpower. In 1930 
hand labor, supplemented by horse- and 
mule-drawn wagons, road graders, and 
scrapers, still furnished the basic power for 
everything from simple clearing at the front 
to the more deliberate and extensive build- 
ing in the rear. Nothing could have been 
more obvious than the fact that manual 
labor and horsepower were incompatible 
with the tempo of the new Army. 

To a large extent, it was lack of money 
that had fostered this situation — but not 
altogether. The type of power employed by 
the military in 1930 was not appreciably 
different from that used by the construc- 
tion contractors. In illustrating the opera- 
tions at Hoover Dam the magazine 
Construction Methods printed a picture 
with the appropriate caption, "Grading 
Operations for railway require forty head 
of horses and mules pulling fresno scrapers." 

2 (1) Orgn Charts OCE, 1938-41. EHD files. 
(2) Ann Rpts Engr Bd, 1939-42. ERDL files. (3) 
Col H. C. C. Weinkauff, Hist of Engr Bd, 15 Jan 
42. ERDL files. (4) Min of Mtgs Engr Bd, Jul 38- 
Jun 39. Rec Sec ERDL. (5) Wkly Rpts Sup Sec, 
31 Jan 41, 13 Jul 41. EHD files. (6) Stuart W. 
Bruchey, Engineer Research and Development: Or- 
ganization and Administration (typescript), 1951. 
EHD files. 

3 T/BAs, 14 May 30, 1 Jul 37, 1 Jan 39, 1 May 
40, 1 Oct 41. 



But other pictures of the work showed power 
machinery excavating, lifting, and hauling. 4 
Although the application of artificial 
power to construction operations stretched 
back a century to the invention of the steam 
shovel, even this machine did not come into 
general use until the hectic railroad building 
of the eighties. The decade of the nineties 
was remarkable both for the number and the 
complicated nature of earth -moving and 
construction projects, and the quantity and 
variety of the machinery used. Steam 
shovels, derricks, dredges, cranes, compres- 
sors, drills, cars, and locomotives were all 
familiar to engineers who observed the con- 
struction of the Chicago Drainage Canal, 
but not in such numbers. There were so 
many machines employed at one time on 
this project that engineers were forced to 
think in terms of machinery instead of 
masses of men as factors in construction. 
Observers of the canal building were also 
struck by the introduction of mobility into 
machinery. At the canal site car trucks and 
railway tracks were utilized to the utmost to 
shift machinery that had formerly been 
moved only after dismantling. An even more 
striking fact about the Chicago Canal job 
was that the construction industry had be- 
gun to grasp the fundamentals of co- 
ordination of machines in train to perform 
a succession of processes. The result was a 
"construction plant" having many of the 
characteristics of assembly-line production. 
By the turn of the century the construction 
industry had established modern principles 
of operation. The following decades were to 
be notable chiefly for technical improve- 

Most of these improvements sprang from 
the invention of gasoline and diesel engines 
and of crawler tracks. The new engines sup- 
plied more and cheaper power. Crawler 

tractors freed construction machinery from 
dependence upon mule power and railway 
tracks. Mounting on crawler treads not only 
did away with the necessity for laying track 
but made possible the construction of a base 
wide enough to support a revolving steam 
shovel. While the evolution of the power 
shovel was typical of the kind of improve- 
ments made in machinery already in use, 
the first three decades of the twentieth cen- 
tury also witnessed the introduction of a 
number of new machines and attachments. 
Outstanding among these was the bulldozer 
blade. First marketed in 1915 to be pushed 
by mules, its potentialities were fully realized 
in 1923 when it was mounted on a tractor. 5 

Closely associated with the vast earth- 
moving and road-building projects spon- 
sored by the federal government during the 
twenties and thirties, Engineer officers kept 
abreast of the latest in construction ma- 
chinery and techniques. To them it was a 
foregone conclusion that in any future war 
construction operations would be "mecha- 
nized." But until 1937, when the Army 
committed itself to a motorized, mechanized 
force, the Engineers could do little more 
than make this general assumption. 

For one thing, funds were short. For an- 
other, so many new machines were intro- 
duced during the early thirties that the 
Engineer Board considered it unwise to 
make a selection. Nevertheless, the Engi- 
neers bought a few machines during this 

* "Setting the Stage for Building the Hoover 
Dam," Construction Methods, XIII (April, 1931), 

* ( 1 ) "Construction Machinery," Engineering 
News-Record, CXLIII (September 1, 1949), A- 
18-19. (2) Francis Donaldson, "Mechanization 
Has Revolutionized Construction Work," Civil En- 
gineering, XXII (September, 1952), 56. (3) C. S. 
Hill, "The Birth of Mechanized Construction," 
Engineering News-Record, CXXXVII (December 
12, 1946), 102-05. 



period. Air compressors, gasoline shovels, 
truck-cranes, tractors, road graders, con- 
crete mixers, and asphalt kettles of different 
makes and models were issued to troop units 
with requests for comment. The perform- 
ance reports were duly filed, but when 
Young took up his duties as executive of- 
ficer of the Engineer Board in 1936 he be- 
came convinced of the necessity for a new 
start. 6 Attention centered for the most part 
upon the types of machinery that would be 
issued as organizational equipment. This 
preoccupation was partly a result of the 
general emphasis upon tactical units, partly 
a result of the Engineers' correct assumption 
that construction jobs in rear areas would 
be equipped and organized like any peace- 
time work of comparable size. 

In choosing construction machinery to 
support the Army's mobility the Engineers 
had to take into account the dictum of 
higher authority that mobile troops must 
travel light. Only what was habitually re- 
quired should be attached to an outfit as 
organizational (Class II) supplies and be 
set down on the T/BA; other supplies es- 
sential for carrying out certain operations 
but not always needed (Class IV) should 
be held in corps or army depots for issue 
on demand. There were limits as well on 
the weight of equipment. Items issued to 
divisional units could not exceed l l /n tons; 
for corps and army units, the limit was 15 
tons. Although the General Staff placed no 
maximum on the weight of equipment in 
the Class IV pool, these supplies were ex- 
pected to be as light as possible. 7 Since most 
construction machinery was heavy and spe- 
cialized and since the heavier and more 
specialized the machine the greater its ca- 
pacity and relative efficiency, the Engineers 
were hard put at times to make a choice. 

They did, however, include tractors, air 
compressors, power shovels, road graders, 
and that characteristic vehicle of American 
industry, the dump truck, in the T/BA of 
July 1937. This selection was subject to 
change as a result of the investigations pro- 
jected by the Engineer Board. 

The tractors listed by the Military Divi- 
sion on the 1937 T/BA were "mechanical 
mules," intended to replace the four-line 
mule teams which had been used to pull 
heavy equipment. They were light, 3-ton 
units of the type used on small farms — a far 
cry from the powerful tractors commonly 
employed on construction projects. These 
heavier tractors with bulldozers and winches 
lent themselves to many of the jobs which 
general engineer units would be called upon 
to do — clearing debris from roads, digging 
and filling antitank ditches, clearing sites 
for construction, pulling heavy equipment 
out of mud or over steep grades. Officers 
in command of troop units urged the adop- 
tion of such heavier, more versatile 

9 ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Mi! Div to Bd on Engr Equip, 
9 Dec 30, sub: Machines For Engr Opns in Fid. 
413.8, Pt. 7. (2) Ltr, President Bd on Engr Equip 
to CofEngrs, 17 Jun 32, same sub. Same file. (3) 
Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 7 Oct 36, same 
sub. Same file. (4) Ltr, CO Co C 13th Engrs to 
CofEngrs, 15 Apr 33, sub: Rpt of Air Driven Power 
Tools, with Incl, n.d. Same file. (5) Ltr, CO 6th 
Engr Regt to CofEngrs, 19 Apr 35, sub: Tactical 
Uses of Constr Equip by Engr Trps. 451.2, Pt. 4. 

7 (1) Ltr, AGO to CofEngrs, 13 Apr 38, sub: 
Rev of T/BA. 400.13, Pt. 34. (2) Ltr, AGO to 
CofEngrs, 26 Aug 41, same sub. 400.34, Pt. 38. 
(3) Ltr, AGO to CofEngrs, 5 Nov 41, sub: Re- 
duction of Equip Included in T/BA, 1 Oct 41. 
400.34, Pt. 39A. (4) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to All Con- 
cerned, 6 Jan 38. sub: SP 262, Power Shovels, Pile 
Drivers, and Cranes. Engr Bd Rpt 546, App. F, 20 
Sep 38, The Engineer Research and Development 
Laboratories at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has a com- 
plete file of Engineer Board reports. 



BULLDOZER IN OPERATION, 3d Army maneuver area, Louisiana, September 1941. 

In the fall of 1938, a 4i/ 2 -ton tractor, 
complete with bulldozer and winch, was 
purchased from the Cleveland Tractor 
Company and turned over to the Engineer 
Board for tests by the 5th Engineers. The 
unit took it out on a muddy field to "doze," 
lining up beside it for comparison a mule 
team and slip scraper operated by two men, 
and a 3-ton wheel scraper with six opera- 
tors. The 4i/ 2 -ton bulldozer with one oper- 
ator moved sixteen times as much dirt as the 
animal-drawn scraper and four times as 
much as the 3-ton scraper. But the 5th En- 
gineers were dissatisfied. They knew a 
heavier tractor would be even more efficient. 

The Cleveland Tractor Company then 
offered its 7 J/2 -ton machine. The extra 
power in this unit caused the 5th Engineers 

to pronounce it definitely superior to the 
4j/2-ton tractor. Noting that three other 
companies — Allis-Chalmers, International, 
and Caterpillar — could offer similar mod- 
els, Capt. Gilbert E. Linkswiler of the En- 
gineer Board recommended adoption of the 
7 J/2 -ton medium dozer as standard equip- 

The increase in the weight of the tractors 
begot transportation problems. Some offi- 
cers proposed that they be assigned to depots 
and brought forward as occasion demanded. 
Others argued that when dozers were 
needed they were needed badly, at once, 
and in quantity. Consequently, they wanted 
to carry with them enough to meet their 
maximum requirements at any one time. 
Linkswiler adopted a middle ground. 


Sticking to the rule that troops should carry 
with them only that "habitually required," 
he nevertheless found it "hard to imagine" 
general engineer units "engaged in work 
which could not be expedited by the use of 
a small number of tractors." This small 
number (four to combat and general serv- 
ice regiments; two to squadrons and sepa- 
rate battalions ) should be assigned as organ- 
izational equipment and with a reserve suf- 
ficient to meet emergencies to be held in 
depots. To carry out large-scale construc- 
tion in rear areas, he recommended that 
army and communications zone depots 
stock 15-ton bulldozers. OCE approved this 
distribution in September 1939. 8 

Like the heavier tractors, the power 
shovels selected by the Military Division in 
1937 and subsequently studied by the Engi- 
neer Board with a view to determining their 
distribution were multipurpose machines 
which could be converted into pile drivers 
or cranes for excavation, hammering, and 
lifting. Although Engineer officers agreed 
that such shovels would be needed in the 
combat zone, they were of different minds 
as to whether or not they should be issued as 
organizational equipment. According to the 
1937 T/BA, combat regiments and squad- 
rons were entitled to 7j/^-ton, %-yard 
shovels ; general service regiments and sepa- 
rate battalions to 15-ton, 34-yard units. 
Presenting the case for issuing shovels 
directly to troops, one officer argued that 
"duties outlined for combat Engineers in- 
volve the acquisition, movement and dis- 
tribution of immense quantities of materials. 
It is inconsistent to provide dump trucks for 
movement and distribution and to depend 
on manpower alone for the procurement 
and loading." While a good many supported 
this position, there were more who agreed 

with the officer who believed that "in war- 
fare of movement, the power shovel has no 
place in the column," arguing that "divi- 
sion Engineers, to fulfill their front-line mis- 
sion, must rely on their resourcefulness and 
ability to improvise, employing simple basic 
implements of all around usefulness, such 
as trucks and hand tools." Baker, who 
weighed these views for the Engineer Board, 
advocated a reduction in the basis of issue. 
He favored assigning some 7y^-ton shovels 
to the general service regiment because "the 
nature of its tasks should provide fairly con- 
tinuous, profitable employment" for them. 
Since the need of other troops would be 
"more or less intermittent," he recom- 
mended storing 7 /2-ton shovels in corps 
depots; 7/ 2 -ton and 15 -ton units in army 
depots; and 15- and 20-ton units in the 
communications zone. 9 

In contrast to the difference of opinion 
on whether bulldozers and shovels were 
needed for the everyday operations of engi- 
neer troops, there was unanimity that air 
compressors were "almost indispensable."' 
The 105-cubic-foot, 7-ton compressor 
selected by the Military Division in 1937 
furnished power for the operation of rock 
drills, pavement breakers, wood-boring 
machines, clay diggers, and saws. Although 
the Engineer Board favored the adoption of 
a lighter, more mobile compressor, the De- 
velopment Branch held out for the heavier 
machines. The "105" was within the 7j4- 
ton limit, was as mobile as any truck in a 
convoy, and, unlike the lighter machines. 

8 (1) Engr Bd Rpt 547, 3 Oct 38, and 579, 15 
Jul 39, sub: Tractors. (The Linkswiler quote is 
from the latter report.) (2) 1st Ind, 6 Sep 39, on 
Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 29 Jul 39, sub: 
Rpt 579-SP 264, Tractors. 

8 Engr Bd Rpt 546, 20 Sep 38, sub: Power 
Shovels, Pile Drivers, and Cranes. 



Basic Allo 

Com but 
Rn inf I 

Item Div 

Air compressor 3 

Bulldozer 3 

Electric drill 

Gasoline hammer 3 

Gasoline saw 9 

Road grader 

Shovel, %-yard 

Shovel, y 2 -yaid 

Welding set 1 

Cargo truck 9 

Dump truck 49 

Prime mover truck 

Wrecker truck 

Truck-mounted crane 

would furnish power for heavier and more 
varied attachments. 10 

The substitution of power machinery' for 
hand tools, foreseen in the twenties and be- 
gun in earnest in the mid-thirties, had, by 
the fall of 1941, affected all engineer units 
having construction duties, as shown in 
table above. 11 

In Godfrey's opinion this was a ''fairly- 
large amount" of machinery and trucks at 
the disposal of general engineer units with a 
field army. Engineer aviation units, organ- 
ized in the summer of 1940, were to be 
equipped with power machinery in even 
greater number and variety. 12 

Equipping front-line units came first, 
both in theory and in the practical matter of 
allocation of funds. Aviation units excepted, 
the power machinery which engineer troops 
carried as organizational equipment did not 
represent the "construction plant" needed 
to carry out large-scale operations. For such 
tasks specialized machinery would be 
stocked in depots for issue upon requisition. 
The Engineers felt little compulsion to de- 

nces: 1941 


u /4-fmd 



Gen St> 













































cide just what and how much specialized 
machinery would be required. Uncertain- 
ties inherent in the situation before Pearl 
Harbor had much to do with this attitude. 
With the theater of operations a matter of 
speculation, it was difficult to visualize the 
type and scale of future construction opera- 
tions. Perhaps most important, the Engi- 
neers were confident they had sufficient 
knowledge to choose what was proper when 
called upon to plan for a specific construc- 
tion operation. Only after Pearl Harbor 
were funds forthcoming to stock construc- 

10 (1) Hist Staff Engr Bd, History of the De- 
velopment of Mechanical Equipment, "Air Com- 
pressors and Accompanying Tools," (typescript), 
21 Jan 46. (Hereafter studies in this series of his- 
torical reports will be cited as Engr Bd Hist Study, 
with subtitle. Reports are in EHD files.) (2) Memo, 
ExO Engr Bd for Godfrey, 19 Sep 39, sub: SP 260, 
Air Compressors and Accompanying Tools. ERDL 
file, ME 260. (3) Interv, Charles G. Perkins, 27 
Sep 50. 

11 T/BA, 1 Oct 41. 

i2 (l) Stuart C. Godfrey, "Road Work in The- 
aters of Military Operations." Civil Engineering, 
XI (May, 1941), 284. (2) See below, |p. 56.| 



tion machinery over and above that issued 
as organizational equipment. 13 

Until power machinery and other engi- 
neer equipment began to be bought in quan- 
tity the Engineers found it easy to postpone 
preparations for storage, distribution, serv- 
ice, and repair. It was not until the summer 
of 1 940 therefore that a depot company and 
a shop company were activated. Their as- 
signment to the technical supervision of the 
Engineer Board testified to the experimental 
nature of their organization and equipment. 
In the reorganization of 1939-40 the num- 
ber of depot companies with a field army 
had been cut from four to one, whereas total 
personnel with a field army had been re- 
duced by only one third. Hoping to bring 
about a partial restoration of the former 
balance, the commanding officer of the ex- 
perimental depot company, with the back- 
ing of the Engineer Board, recommended 
increasing the company from 164 to 255 
officers and men and furnishing it with mo- 
bile cranes, trucks, and tractors. Even so, the 
unit's facilities would be insufficient for the 
servicing of heavy construction machinery. 
To service such machinery the Engineer 
Board recommended the formation of a spe- 
cial equipment company, and, in order to 
co-ordinate supply and maintenance, urged 
the creation of a park battalion to be com- 
posed of depot, dump truck, equipment, and 
shop companies. 14 

The particular organization proposed for 
the depot company was not adopted. 
Instead, in April 1941 the Engineer Board 
was asked to give the matter further study. 
The equipment company and the park bat- 
talion, approved about the same time, were 
also assigned to the board for study. Yet 
none of these units was to undergo as much 
experimentation as the shop company. 35 

The engineer shop company in the old 
Army had been charged both with making 
repairs and with simple manufacturing. In 
September 1940 1st Lt. Karl F. Eklund, 
commander of the newly activated 56th 
Shop Company, suggested that these tasks 
be handled by two different organizations 
as in other branches of the Army. He pro- 
posed that the repair company "be com- 
pletely mobile and capable of taking the 
field as readily as the equipment it will have 
to maintain." For general overhauling and 
manufacturing he advocated a less mobile 
base equipment company. 16 

Although a T/O for a mobile shop com- 
pany was published in November 1940, 
OCE issued no other directives to guide the 
development of its organization and equip- 
ment, which continued at the board under 
the direction of Maj. C. Rodney Smith. 
Early in 1941 Smith presented a program 
which called for more funds and the use of 
the 56th Shop Company as a testing agency. 
Following approval of the broad outlines of 
his program, the board intensified research 
so that by August 1941 Smith had arrived 

33 The Engineer Board did develop a "road-build- 
ing set," which OCE purchased but which was not 
tested as planned because units slated to carry out 
the tests moved overseas. See Engr Bd Hist Study, 
Road-Building Methods, and Engr Bd Hist Study, 
Road-Building Equipment. 

" (1) Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 23 Jul 40, sub: 
T/Os. 320.2, Pt. 25. (2) Ann Rpt Engr Bd, 1941. 
(3) Ltr, CO 394th Engr Co to CofEngrs, 14 Nov 
40, sub: T/O, with 1st Ind, ExO Engr Bd to CO 
Ft. Belvoir, 15 Nov 40. 320.2, Pt. 26. 

15 (1) EFM 5-5, 31 Jan 41, p. 370. (2) Ann Rpt 
Engr Bd, 1941. (3) Memo, ACofS G-3 for Cof- 
Engrs, 30 Apr 41, sub: Orgn of Engr Park Bn. 
320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. (4) Ltr, AG 320.2 
(3-21-41) MR-M-C to CG First Army et al, 27 
May 41, sub: Orgn of 410th Engr Bn (Park) . 320.2, 
410th Engr Bn. 

16 1st Ind, 19 Sep 40, and 2d Ind, Comdt Engr 
Sch to CofEngrs, 20 Sep 40, on Ltr, AC of O&T 
Sec to CO 56th Shop Co, 13 Sep 40, sub: T/O for 
Engr Co, Shop. 320.2, Pt. 25. 



at a comprehensive estimate of the main- 
tenance requirements of engineer troops. 
Heretofore, planning had been based upon 
one shop company to an army. Conscious 
of the tremendous increase in mechanical 
equipment, Smith proposed the assignment 
of one mobile third echelon shop to each 
corps, one mobile and one semimobile 
fourth echelon shop to each army, plus a 
group composed of both for GHQ reserve. 
On the basis of four field armies this meant 
forming twenty to thirty companies. Train- 
ing of the personnel to fill these units was to 
be accomplished in factory schools until the 
spring of 1942, when an Engineer mainte- 
nance school with a capacity of 250 to 300 
students would open. All this would have 
cost approximately six million dollars in 
1942 and eight million in 1943. 

The Engineer Board, while concurring 
generally in Smith's program, suggested the 
use of both factory schools and the main- 
tenance school and raised fiscal estimates 
somewhat. 17 In OCE, Adcock pronounced 
this a "grandiose scheme" that would re- 
quire "immediate additional supplemental 
appropriations, formation of several new 
units, and additional building construction 
at Belvoir." Wartime experience was to 
prove Smith's estimates modest, but it is 
nevertheless doubtful that approval for car- 
rying them out could have been got from 
the General Staff and from the War Depart- 
ment Budget Office even had Adcock been 
willing to fight for them. In no mood to 
fight, Adcock directed O&T to submit "a 
suitable modification on a more practicable 
basis." 18 

Instead of making more plans OCE set- 
tled for the time being upon the establish- 
ment of a standby organization. In 
September 1941 Kingman requested the im- 
mediate formation of two more shop com- 

panies, but even after receiving the War 
Department's tentative approval the Engi- 
neers continued to fix minimum require- 
ments at one mobile shop company per army 
and two base shop companies in GHQ re- 
serve. There was to be no all-out program 
for the organization and equipment of main- 
tenance and depot units until after Pearl 
Harbor. 39 

First things had to come first. It was im- 
possible to accomplish everything at once. 
Fully aware of this fact, Kingman hailed the 
advent of a new Corps of Engineers as early 
as June 1940: 

For years Engineer organizations have had 
to rely in great part upon man power and 
hand tools for the performance of their func- 
tions. . . . Today we are far more fortunate. 
Recent appropriations have permitted the 
purchase of equipment which should enable 
our units to be modern in every respect. New 
multi-drive motor vehicles of the latest type 
are now being furnished our organizations. 
Up-to-date construction equipment is being 
supplied to our units, not for inspection but 
for training and use. 

Moreover, he added, "modern bridge 
equipage is being delivered in quantities that 
will enable us to discard the type equip- 
ment used by General Grant's army in the 
1860V 20 

Strains on the Bridges 

The importance of bridging in assuring 
the mobility of the new Army had been re- 

"Corresp in 451.2, SP 104, Feb, Aug 41. 

18 Memo, ExO OCE for Kingman, 22 Aug 41. 
451.2, SP 104. 

"(1) Memo, Actg CofEngrs for Col Raymond 
F. Fowler, 28 Aug 41, sub: Shop Cos. 451.2, SP 104. 
(2) Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 9 Sep 41, sub: 
Changes in Engr Units. (3) Ltr, CofEngrs to TAG, 
23 Oct 41, sub: Redesignation of Engr Units. Last 
two in 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. 

M Info Bull 49, 27 Jun 40, Equip for Engr Trps. 



peatedly stressed by the Corps of Engineers. 
Reflecting on the blitzkrieg, Godfrey wrote : 

Does an unfordable river block the ad- 
vance? Perhaps a critical bridge may be 
seized by the dash of a few motorcyclists while 
the defenders are still hesitating to destroy 
it. But suppose the bridge is out, the opposite 
bank still held by the enemy. Time was when 
the army waited till night, crossed in the dark 
by raft or skiff, gained a foothold on the 
opposite bank . . . later built a bridge. Now 
it appears that success may sometimes be 
achieved more speedily, — a crossing accom- 
plished audaciously in fast motorboats, or a 
bridge built under fire. 21 

At the same time that the Engineers prophe- 
sied systematic destruction of bridges by the 
enemy they were aware of the inadequacy 
of their own bridging equipage and 
acknowledged that they were unprepared to 
keep pace with the enemy's potential 
destructiveness. 22 

In this sense "keeping pace" meant speedy 
construction so that a river or ravine could 
not halt an Army column more than a few 
hours. To meet this requirement, the com- 
ponents of a military bridge had to be easily 
assembled. In another sense, "keeping pace" 
meant new designs to keep up with vehicu- 
lar developments within the Army. As the 
Ordnance Department, at the behest of the 
using services, added weight to tanks, the 
Engineers had to increase the capacity of 
bridges. A third concern was with the 
mobility of the bridging equipment itself, 
so that ease of transportation became an 
integral part of design. These determining 
factors — speed of construction, capacity, 
and transportability — were often hard to 
reconcile. As capacity was increased the dif- 
ficulties of transportation tended to multiply 
and the time consumed in erection to 

From one point of view the ideal military 
bridge was one consisting of parts which 

could be combined so as to carry either light 
or heavy loads over water or over ravines. 
The virtue of this type was that many situa- 
tions could be met with the same basic struc- 
ture and that troops would have to learn 
fewer erection techniques. Its drawbacks 
were that such a bridge would entail either 
the handling of unnecessarily heavy parts 
for a bridge of light capacity, or the use of 
a large number of light parts for a bridge of 
heavy capacity. From another point of view, 
the ideal was a bridge just strong enough to 
carry the heaviest load normally expected 
and designed especially for a water or a land 
crossing. This solution offered a saving in 
transportation space and construction time 
under some circumstances, but would result 
in a multiplicity of bridges. 

The bridges the Engineers had to be pre- 
pared to provide were of three general 
types — assault, combat support, and line of 
communications. Because a floating or pon- 
ton bridge can be constructed more rapidly 
than a fixed bridge, an assault bridge is 
normally a ponton type. According to ortho- 
dox thinking the components of such bridges 
must be light enough and small enough to be 
put in place by hand. Fixed or floating, the 
structure must be capable of supporting the 
heaviest vehicle accompanying the initial 
attack. A combat support bridge, erected 
under less pressure for speed, may be float- 
ing or fixed and must be capable of sup- 
porting all combat elements. A line of 
communications bridge, intended to serve 
as a more or less permanent structure, is 
commonly a fixed bridge differing little from 
conventional civilian bridging. 

In the summer of 1938, General Staff and 

21 Info Bull 50, 18 Jul 40, Mobility— and the 

22 Hearings on Military Establishment Appropri- 
ation Bill, 1940, HR, 76th Cong, 1st Sess, 1 Feb 39, 
p. 393. 





Infantry officers informed Kingman that 
light tanks weighing between 1 and 1 1 tons 
and medium tanks weighing between 15 and 
20 tons were being designed. On the basis 
of an understanding that light and medium 
tanks would operate together, bridge de- 
signers at the Engineer Board were attempt- 
ing to develop a ponton bridge of 10-ton 
capacity which could be reinforced to carry 
20. In this way all units of the Army could 
be served by one ponton bridge. 

The Engineer Board did not have to start 
from scratch to develop a 10-ton ponton 
bridge. It had merely to modify a 7}/> -ton 
bridge which was in turn a modification of 
a Civil War model. All these bridges con- 
sisted of boats connected by wooden beams 
(balk) over which were laid planks [ chess) 
to form a roadway. At most sites one or two 

trestles had to be placed inshore to provide 
supports for the span from the bank to the 
first boat. The aluminum boats of the 
ton bridge were 26 feet long and weighed 
about a thousand pounds. The modification 
recommended by the board in January 1 938 
and approved by OCE in June, brought the 
capacity of this bridge to 1 tons by enlarg- 
ing the boats to 28 feet and increasing their 
weight by 450 pounds. 23 

During the following summer one such 
boat was tested. Despite its increased weight 
it proved easy to carry and maneuver. In 

23 (1) 1st Ind, ACofEngrs to President Engr Bd, 
14 Jun 38 (basic missing). R&D Div Structures Dev 
Br, BR 257. (2) Engr Bd Rpt 537, 24 Jun 38, sub: 
Heavy Ponton Bridge, 23-ton (Model 1924). (3) 
Engr Bd Rpt 522, 15 Jan 38, sub: Increased Ca- 
pacity for 7/2-ton Ponton Equipage. (4) Engr Bd 
Hist Study, Light Floating Bridging. 



July 1939, meanwhile, eleven more boats 
were ordered in the expectation of assem- 
bling a complete bridge for testing. So cer- 
tain was the Chief of Engineers that tests 
of the bridge would prove successful that 
he directed the Engineer Board "to give 
priority over every other activity" to finish- 
ing up drawings and specifications by 
Christmas 1939. Money to buy several units 
was expected in January. The board sub- 
mitted the specifications on 22 December, 
and the same day asked the Chief of Ord- 
nance to send a couple of medium tanks to 
the 70th Engineers who were to test the new 
bridge. While the commanding officer did 
not consider the tests altogether conclusive, 
they proved in general that the bridge would 
carry loads up to 12 tons provided the balk 
were strengthened. If reinforced by addi- 
tional boats the bridge would take loads up 
to 20 tons. It thus appeared, as Kingman 
and the board had hoped, that the 10-ton 
bridge could supply assault bridging to divi- 
sion, corps, and army. 24 

For line of communications bridging the 
Engineers had for years relied on trestle 
or pile bridges built from ordinary com- 
mercial timbers, and steel beams. Although 
eminendy suitable for the rear areas these 
structures could not be erected in the limited 
time allowed for construction in combat 
support, much less during an assault. 

The Engineer Board had therefore de- 
veloped girder bridges with no intermediate 
trestles. The board did not believe that one 
fixed bridge should be made to serve both 
division and army. A light girder bridge 
would, like a ponton bridge, be used for an 
emergency crossing, then removed and re- 
placed by a permanent bridge. A heavier 
girder bridge would be more permanent, 
spanning those gaps where the time con- 

sumed in constructing trestles would be in- 
ordinate, or where the piers of a partially 
destroyed bridge stood far apart. If the com- 
ponents of a light bridge were used to build 
a heavy one the span would have to be 
shortened considerably and more girders 
added, thus lengthening construction time. 

Both the H-10 and the H-20 portable 
steel bridges, as the girder bridges came to 
be called, were modeled after British 
bridges. They were so designed at the re- 
quest of the Engineer Board by the firm of 
Sverdrup and Parcel of St. Louis, Missouri. 
The British H-10 bridge was a 64-foot 
plank roadway, supported by two steel 
girders formed of latticed box sections. The 
complete girder, with the aid of a roller and 
launching beam, was thrown across to the 
far shore at one time. The American bridge 
as designed by Sverdrup and Parcel in the 
spring of 1937 was somewhat heavier and 
somewhat shorter. There were five 12-foot 
lattice boxes to a girder, each weighing a 
little over a thousand pounds. 

When the 5th Engineers tested this bridge 
in June 1938, they reported it stronger than 
expected — so strong that it could be length- 
ened to 72 feet by the addition of another 
section without reducing its 15-ton capacity. 
Moreover, a longer bridge could be built 
by adding girders — one for 96, and two for 
108 feet. Its parts were sturdy and easily 
assembled. A crew of one officer and 41 ex- 
perienced men could erect the normal 60- 
foot span in one hour, it was reported. This 
statement of the time required for construc- 
tion of the H-10 bridge was, like all such 
estimates, subject to many qualifications. 

' 1 ) Study cited 

n. 23 

(4). (2) Ltr, ExO OCE 

to President Engr Bd, 1 Dec 39, sub: Drawings and 
Specifications for 10-Ton Ponton Bridge. 417.112, 
SP 257, Pt. 1. (3) Ltr, ExO OCE to CofOrd, 22 
Dec 39, sub: Test Loads for Test of 10- Ton Ponton 
Bridge. R&D Div Structures Dev Br, BR 257. 



H-10 PORTABLE STEEL BRIDGE being erected by men of the 4th and 5th Training 
Battalions, Ft. Belvoir, Va., May 1941. 

The length of time consumed in erecting any 
bridge varies greatly according to the skill 
of the builders, the character of the imme- 
diate terrain, and, for ponton bridges, the 
velocity of current. 

The H-20 bridge had a span of 1 25 feet 
and was much like the H-10. It consisted of 
two girders made up of ten rectangular box 
sections 12^ feet long and two triangular 
end sections. Each section weighed 1,728 
pounds, about 600 pounds more than a sec- 
tion of the H-10 bridge. Following tests in 
the summer of 1940 the 5th Engineers re- 
ported that the H-20 bridge carried its de- 
signed load and more up to 54 tons. Since 
the H-20 was not an assault bridge, ma- 
chinery could be introduced into its con- 
struction. A crane unloaded the sections 
from trucks and maneuvered them into po- 

sition for assembly into girders. The girders 
were moved into position by means of 
winches and cables strung through them so 
they could be pulled to the opposite shore. 
The 5th Engineers reported that with all 
equipment at the site an experienced work 
party could construct 100 feet of H-20 
bridging in about three hours. 25 

In May 1940 the Corps of Engineers 
received some disquieting news. The Ord- 
nance Department, strengthening its long- 
standing arguments for heavier tanks with 

85 (1) Engr Bd Hist Study, Fixed Bridging. (2) 
Engr Bd Rpt 552, 5 Nov 38, sub: Long Span (Non- 
floating) Bridge for Corps and Army Highway 
Loads (H-20 Loading). (3) Engr Bd Rpt 511, 30 
Oct 37, sub: Portable Single Span (Ntmfloating) 
Bridge Equipage for Division Loads (H— 10 Load- 
ing). (4) Ltr, 1st Lt Clayton E. Mullins to Engr 
Bd, 3 Sep 40, sub: An Erection Scheme for the 
H-20 Steel Port Bridge. ERDL file, SP 267. 



current information about the greater 
weight of German armor, had convinced 
the General Staff that the 15-ton medium 
tank was obsolete. The medium tank now 
projected would weigh about 25 tons. Plans 
were shaping up for a heavy tank weigh- 
ing between 50 and 60 tons. The Engineers 
had been aware of Ordnance's desire to 
develop heavier tanks. In 1927 they had 
standardized a 23-ton ponton bridge. The 
basic design of this bridge was the same as 
that of the 10-ton ponton; its capacity was 
greater because its pontons and other struc- 
tural members were larger. Improvements 
made in the 10-ton ponton could be ap- 
plied to the heavier bridge. The Engineer 
Board had been told to proceed with such 
improvements in the summer of 1939, pro- 
vided time and personnel were available. 
Since time and personnel did not mate- 
rialize, the Engineers were relatively unpre- 
pared when the General Staff gave Ord- 
nance the signal to go ahead. 20 

Capt. Chester K. Harding, the officer 
most familiar with the 23-ton ponton bridge, 
believed that with slight modifications it 
would sustain from 25 to 30 tons and twice 
that amount when reinforced. On 29 May, 
Kingman, in conference with Godfrey, Ad- 
cock, Harding, and Baker, decided to in- 
crease the base capacity of the bridge to 25 
tons by enlarging the boats. The board de- 
signed a new ponton in two weeks. It was 
32 feet 9 inches long and weighed more than 
a ton, so that a truck-crane had to lift it. 
Still, no laws had been broken. Mechanical 
equipment was admissible in the construc- 
tion of the 25-ton ponton bridge because of- 
ficial doctrine nominated tanks to support 
the infantry in river crossings. 27 Normally, 
it was impossible for tanks to accompany 
the assaulting infantry. With tank support 
on the near shore, infantry moved across 

and established a bridgehead. Mechanical 
equipment could therefore be moved up 
after the infantry had dug in on the far 
shore. Once the bridge was erected, tanks 
would move across, pass in front of the in- 
fantry, and lead the assault. 

Late in June, Kingman summed up the 
ponton bridging situation for the Chief of 

a. The light ponton bridge, while designed 
for a 10-ton load, will carry a 13 /a -ton tank 
under favorable conditions. 

b. The light ponton bridge when built "re- 
enforced" (that is, with double the number 
of boats) is not an adequate bridge to carry 
a 25-ton medium tank. The bridge suitable 
for such a tank is our heavy ponton bridge, 
. . . designed . . . for a 25-ton loading. 

e. As above clarified, the way seems clear, 
as to bridge capacities, for the development 
of a light tank not to exceed 13/2 tons, and for 
a medium tank up to 25 tons. 28 

By September the weight of the medium 
tank was 28 tons, but if Harding's calcula- 
tions were correct the 25-ton bridge would 
take it, 

OCE ordered eight 25-ton bridges on 29 
August, and, five days later, recommended 
standardization. As yet there had been no 
tests, but so similar was this bridge to the 

20 ( 1 ) OCO ASF, The Design, Development, and 
Production of Medium and Heavy Tanks (type- 
script), March 1945. Ord Hist Div files. (2) Engr 
Bd Monthly Rpts, Aug 39-Apr 40. (3) Engr Bd 
Rpt 537, 24 Jun 38, sub; Heavy Ponton Bridge, 
23-Ton (Model 1924). (4) Engr Bd Hist Study, 
Medium Floating Bridging. 

=7 (1) Memo. Kingman for Maj John M. Silk- 
man, C of Sup Sec, 29 May 40, with Incl, 29 May 
40. R&D Div Structures Dev Br, SP 287, Pontons 
for 23-Ton Bridge, Pt. 1. (2) Engr Bd Monthly 
Rpt, Jul 40. (3) Engr Bd Hist Study, Medium 
Floating Bridging. 

28 Memo, ACofEngrs for CofS, 26 Jun 40, sub: 
Capacity of Ponton Bridge Equipage, As Affecting 
Design of Tanks. 823, Bridges, Pt, 1, Armd Center, 
Ft. Knox, Ky. 



lighter one that little gamble was involved. 
Nevertheless, Schley insisted on a thorough 
workout early in 1941 when deliveries were 
expected. 29 

The committees assigned to the study of 
river crossing tactics at the research course 
conducted at the Engineer School in the fall 
of 1940 expressed considerable dissatisfac- 
tion with the bridging equipage available 
and urged that much could be learned from 
German practices. The emphasis on silent 
execution of the initial crossing should be 
sacrificed, they argued, in favor of the speed 
which could be attained by the use of storm 

The few seconds — or even minutes — of ad- 
ditional secrecy after the first wave leaves 
our shore is of relatively small value. . . . 
In any case, the first burst of fire, when the 
enemy first discovers one of our boats, gives 
away the show; if by the use of fast motor 
boats we can be down his throat within sec- 
onds after he discovers us, we are better off 
than if we have to paddle laboriously to the 
shore in the face of fire. 30 

In addition to, or perhaps in place of, storm 
boats, rubber boats might be adopted. 

As early as 1933 the Engineers had seen 
pictures of German troops using pneumatic 
floats for assault boats and ferries and in 
October 1939 (.-&T had forwarded to the 
Engineer Board a picture from a German 
newspaper which showed a raft built of 
pneumatic floats. It was not until the sum- 
mer of 1940, however, when such pictures 
appeared in American newspapers and 
magazines, that the board was assigned a 
project to investigate the design and use of 
pneumatic floats. The advantages of such 
floats could be readily grasped. Rubber 
boats would be easier to handle and to 
move from place to place. In September 
1940 the Bridging Section had called in 

three leading manufacturers of rubber boats, 
ordering from them models in several sizes, 
shapes, and materials. As the models were 
delivered and tested, both Capt. Frank S. 
Besson, Jr., and Capt. Clayton E. Mullins, 
who as commanding officer of Company B, 
5th Engineers, carried out many tests for 
Besson, became more and more enthusiastic. 
They were therefore receptive to the sugges- 
tion that a light (5-ton) assault bridge be 
developed with rubber boats and treadways 
as its main components. 31 

The treadways were channels just wide 
enough to cradle the tires or tracks of a 
vehicle. Substituting them for standard balk 
and chess was another German idea which 
the board had begun to investigate and on 
which the committees urged further work. 
The committee on river crossing technique, 
of which Mullins was a member, favored 
their use in a 10-ton ferry mainly because 
they would distribute the weight of a vehicle 
and simplify loading. The committee on 
river crossing bridge tactics favored a new 
type of ponton bridge with treadways inte- 
grated into a system of trusses or the box 
girders of the H-10 fixed bridge, estimating 
that the approximately 2,500 separate oper- 
ations which went into building the 10-ton 
ponton bridge would be cut to about 600. 
As a further contribution to speed, this com- 

20 ( 1 ) Engr Bd Hist Study, Medium Floating 
Bridging. (2) Memo, Schley for Kingman, 4 Sep 
40, with Incl, 20 Jan [40]. R&D Div Structures Dev 
Br, SP 287, Ponton for 23-Ton Ponton Bridge, Pt. 1. 
( 3 ) Ltr, ExO OCE to TAG, 7 Oct 40, sub : Tests of 
25-Ton Ponton Equipage, with Incl, n. d. 417.112, 
SP 287, Pt. 1. 

30 Rpt, River Crossing Technique. First Research 
Course, Vol. I, p. 25. 

51 (1) Ibid. (2) Info Bull 1, 14 Feb 33, sub: Ex- 
tracts From Mil Attache Rpt on German Maneu- 
vers, 19-22 Sep 32. (3) Incl, with Ltr, C of O&T 
Sec to ExO Engr Bd, 27 Oct 39. ERDL file, BR 
305. (4) Engr Bd Monthly Rpts, Jun, Sep, Dec 40. 




in an American publication in 1940. 

mittee advocated the use of mechanical lift- 
ing devices. 32 

The use of treadways with H-10 girders 
was not favorably received in the O&T Sec- 
tion. Claterbos had seen a movie demon- 
strating construction of a bridge with H-10 
girders and pontons, and the operation had 
seemed to him "a slow, cumbersome proc- 
ess." Similarly, he believed "the use of track- 
ways would also be slower than a well 
organized bridge crew using the proper 
methods of erecting the bridge." 33 

Meanwhile, pressures for changes in river 
crossing equipment came from Engineer of- 
ficers attached to the Armored Force, which 
had been activated at Fort Knox in July 
1 940. With the ability to strike quickly and 

forcefully as its reason for being, the 
Armored Force had come to fear the pos- 
sibility that frequent or extensive detours 
around rivers and mine fields might slow its 
movements. As part of a new organization, 
Engineer Armored Force officers were anx- 
ious to contribute ideas which would 
advance its future success, and were deter- 
mined to match or surpass the aid given 

31 (1) Ltr, ExO OCE to President Engr Bd, 9 
Jul 40, sub: SP 319, Prefabricated Bridge Sections 
for Narrow Crossings. R&D Div Structures Dev Br, 
SP 320, Prefabricated Bridge Sections for Narrow 
Crossings. (2) Rpt, River Crossing Technique. (3) 
Rpt, River Crossings, Bridge Tactics, 28 Nov 40. 
Last two in First Research Course, Vol. I. 

33 Memo, ExO O&T Sec for Godfrey, 17 Jan 41, 
sub: Atchd Recommendations. 352.11, Engr Sch, 
Pt. 10. 



by German engineers in assuring the for- 
ward sweep of armor. 34 

Early in August 1940, Capt. Bruce C. 
Clarke, acting engineer of the 1st Armored 
Division, furnished Godfrey with a list of 
suggested improvements in the equipment 
of the engineer armored battalion, stressing 
the inadequacy of the H-10 bridge. All ele- 
ments of the Armored Force would be en- 
gaged in an encircling movement. Since the 
capacity of the H-10 bridge was insufficient 
to support the 25-ton tank this bridge would 
have to be supplanted by a structure that 
could. Godfrey agreed that the "H-10 port- 
able bridge is certainly not the complete 
answer to our prayers" and assured Clarke 
that "the Engineer Board is now working 
on this problem" (presumably the H-20 
bridge.) 35 He also passed Clarke's memo- 
randum along to Kingman, who took this 
occasion to draw the Armored Force and 
the Engineer Board closer together. In a 
letter to the board inclosing Clarke's memo- 
randum, he emphasized the importance of 
assisting the Armored Force and directed 
representatives of the board to visit its head- 
quarters at Fort Knox from time to time. 

Three days after receiving Kingman's 
message, Baker, the board's executive, and 
Leif J. Sverdrup of the designing firm, were 
at Fort Knox. The engineer armored bat- 
talion was authorized one 125-foot unit of 
H-20 bridge; one 72-foot unit of H-10; 
300 feet of portable trestle; one 25-ton pon- 
ton bridge; and two portable tank ferries 
of 30-ton capacity, an extremely long 
bridge train for a mobile unit. In August 
1940, the unit had only the trestle, an 
H-10, and a 10-ton ponton bridge. Baker 
found the Armored Force engineers con- 
vinced that the bridging authorized was 
unsuitable and that "perhaps some special 
bridging equipment would be needed." As 

they repeated to Baker the complaints con- 
tained in Clarke's memorandum and added 
some others, he sought to reassure them. 
When asked for portable rafts, he told them 
to use the 1 0- and 25-ton ponton equipage, 
adding that the board was considering the 
possibility of a special barge. When Clarke 
expressed the belief that the trestle bridging 
assigned would not support the medium 
tank, Baker suggested that it be strengthened 
with decking and trestles of the 25-ton pon- 
ton bridge. Objecting that standard wooden 
decking was too weak to carry tanks and 
yet too heavy to handle expeditiously, Clarke 
suggested that Z-irons be used to form a 

The idea of using treadways had occurred 
also to Maj. Thomas H. Stanley, com- 
manding officer of the 16th Engineer Ar- 
mored Battalion of the 1st Armored Divi- 
sion, who had gone so far as to work up 
some rough drawings. Treadways were not 
new to Baker either, since he was familiar 

81 Two studies by the Historical Section, AGF, 
The Role of Army Ground Forces in the Develop- 
ment of Equipment (Study 34, 1946), and The 
Armored Force Command and Center (Study 27, 
1946), on file in OCMH, provided background for 
the following discussion which is based upon cor- 
respondence in: (1) 653, Pt. 3; (2) 400.34, Pt. 38; 
(3) 320.2, Pt. 25; (4) R&D Div Structures Dev 
Br, SP 340, SP 257, and Ponton Bridging Equip, 
Misc; (5) ERDL files, EB 72, EB 83, EB 84, SP 
300, SP 305, and Engr Bd Monthly Rpts; (6) upon 
letters from and interviews with Olive L. (Mrs. 
Thomas H.) Stanley, Maj Gen Clarence L. Adcock, 
and Brig Gens Frank S. Besson, Jr., Claude H. 
Chorpening, Bruce C. Clarke, and Lunsford E. 
Oliver, and Cols W. Eugene Cowley and Clayton 
E. Mullins: (7) and on Col. Lunsford E. Oliver, 
"Engineers With the Armored Force," The Mili- 
tary Engineer, XXXIII (September, 1941), 397— 

35 Ltr, C of O&T Sec to Clarke, 15 Aug 40. 653, 
Pt. 3. Clarke's letter to Godfrey has not been located. 
That Clarke considered the H— 10 bridge unsuitable 
can be inferred from Godfrey's reply. His reasons 
for wishing to discard it are stated in Ltr, Brig Gen 
Bruce C. Clarke to C of EHD, 24 May 51. 



with the investigations under way at the En- 
gineer Board. Although doubting their 
value as a substitute for decking, he read- 
ily agreed to ship some treadways to the 
Armored Force engineers since he believed 
that "every effort should be made to get a 
bridge which will be more nearly what they 
want." 3(1 

To provide such a bridge for the Armored 
Force engineers imposed a considerable 
burden on the Bridging Section at the En- 
gineer Board which already had more proj- 
ects than employees. Captain Baker unbur- 
dened his troubles to Sverdrup on 18 Sep- 
tember : 

Seems as if everyone, particularly the 
armored force people, is demanding longer, 
lighter, more quickly placed, greater capacity 
bridges. So we have got to get something out 
soon or else show them it can't be done. Some 
of our people have become more enthusiastic 
about ... a bridge with longer sections, 
with special erecting equipment, and which 
ran be more quickly placed than the H-20. 
( However, we are well pleased with the H-20 
and, as I told you, the Chief's Office is going 
to advertise for some of them as soon as 
possible.) 37 

Besson, having had more experience with 
the H-20 bridge, was not so pleased. He 
noted that it was "considerably heavier and 
harder to erect than the H-10 bridge," 
being "a deliberate operation requiring the 
better part of one day to get it in." It was 
his "personal opinion . . . definitely not 
an official Board opinion," that "the H 20 
bridge is not suitable for forward combat 
echelons and is a heavy installation for the 
supply echelon." 38 

The Armored Force engineers at Fort 
Knox also remained dissatisfied. During the 
fall and winter of 1940, Stanley, Clarke, 
and Lt. Col. Lunsford E. Oliver, Engineer 
of I Armored Corps, speculated as to how 

they could improve their bridging. Clarke, 
in particular, was most anxious to develop 
faster means of spanning narrow streams 
and gullys than was possible by use of the 
timber trestle bridge. To that end he urged 
that treadways be laid across the stronger 
prefabricated steel trestles issued as part of 
the ponton bridge equipage. Experiments 
with this variation, while not conclusive, 
were encouraging. Although at the board 
Baker considered the project important 
enough to be pushed, he hesitated when it 
came to "special trestles and special floor- 
ing." Yet he promised shipment of about 
50 feet of treadway to Fort Knox by the end 
of January. In the midst of these experi- 
ments Clarke was reassigned, but Oliver and 
Stanley continued to apply pressure on Fort 

These two officers were becoming increas- 
ingly concerned over the development of a 
suitable floating bridge because they be- 
lieved the 25-ton ponton bridge would be 
too difficult to transport and would take too 
long to erect. Their opinion was based on 
observations of the 10-ton bridge, since they 
had been issued no other, but they knew the 
same disadvantages would be exaggerated 
in the heavier structure. 

The climax to their dissatisfaction oc- 
curred one night early in December 1940 
when the bridge company was putting on a 
night show for Newsweek cameramen. After 
the bridge had been erected a tank was 
backed on and the photographers took "a 
few faked 'action' shots." When the driver 
tried to move forward off the bridge, the 

36 Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 30 Aug 40, sub: 
Rpt of Visit to Ft. Knox, 20-21 Aug 40. 320.2, 
Pt. 25. 

• 17 Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to Sverdrup, 18 Sep 40. 
ERDL file, SP 267. 

38 Ltr, Besson to Capt Alfred H. Davidson, Jr., 
10 Feb 41. ERDL file, EB 84. 



10-TON PONTON BRIDGE AT FORT KNOX, KY. Note tank touching curb rail 
and partial submergence of pontons. This photograph appeared in Newsweek, 23 December 

tank stalled. A bulldozer brought to the 
rescue only succeeded in getting t as far as 
the hinge span, at which point the end pon- 
ton sank to the bottom of Salt River. Stanley 
hastened off to get a wrecker truck, leaving 
strict orders to let everything remain as it 
was. When he returned, he found most of 
the bridge under water. Another officer had 
decided to back up the tank. Only in the 
process of lifting the tank off the bottom of 
the river did Stanley discover it was not a 
9-ton as he had been led to believe, but a 
new 13-ton model. The added weight, to- 
gether with the fact that the driver had got 
off center when he backed up, explained the 

This incident determined Oliver and 
Stanley to pursue Stanley's idea of using 
steel treadways instead of the standard 

wooden flooring. On the 27th of December, 
Stanley wrote Godfrey about the accident, 
concluding "that the 10-ton bridge should 
be used for 13-ton tank loads only in an 
emergency, and then only with every pre- 
caution to keep the load centered on the 
roadway. . . . Perhaps the Engineer Board 
has already considered this problem," he 
continued, "but it would seem possible to 
design treadways for the ponton equipage, 
both light and heavy." He suggested di- 
mensions for the treadways and a method 
of joining them together. 

The treadways would probably be too 
heavy to put in place by manpower, but the 
Armored Force was a completely motorized 

3i> Ltr, CO 16 th Armd Engr Bn to C of O&T Sec, 
27 Dec 40. R&D Div Structures Dev Br, BR 257. 



and mechanized outfit and its engineers 
could see no objection to dependence upon 
machinery for division bridging as did the 
Engineer Board and the Military Division 
in Washington. Oliver and Stanley believed 
the treadways would speed up construction 
because fewer parts had to be fitted to- 
gether, would sustain more weight by dis- 
tributing the load over more pontons, and 
would keep the driver on center by means 
of their channels. 

On 2 January 1941, Oliver wrote Besson 
about the idea and enclosed a rough draw- 
ing. When the letter arrived, the board was 
already prepared to ship the treadways in- 
tended as flooring for the trestle bridge. 
Presumably Stanley could try them out on 
pontons if he wished. Whatever the reason, 
Fort Knox heard nothing from Fort Belvoir. 

The treadways furnished by the board 
were modeled closely on the German track- 
ways and were not at all what Stanley had 
in mind. Conforming to official doctrine, 
they were light enough to be handled with- 
out the aid of machinery. They were flat. 
Stanley wanted curbs to keep the vehicles 
from sliding sideways. They were in short 
12-foot sections, and were so narrow they 
offered no leeway for vehicles of different 

On 1 1 February, Oliver, accompanied by 
Stanley, arrived at Fort Belvoir to witness 
tests of a ferry which utilized treadways. 
Again they found fault with the treadways 
which were similar to those furnished them 
for the trestle bridge. Again they explained 
how they wished the treadways designed 
and expounded their ideas for using them 
as decking for ponton as well as for trestle 
bridging. But the two left Fort Belvoir con- 
vinced that no one there had the time or the 
interest to pursue the work with the speed 

they believed essential. They determined to 
carry out the entire project at Fort Knox. 

Since neither Oliver nor Stanley was free 
to work up a finished design, they turned 
the idea over to 1st Lt. W. Eugene Cowley, 
a motor officer attached to the 16th, who 
was a mechanical designer by profession. 
Cowley planned for curbed treads, 15 feet 
long, 33 inches wide, spaced 39 inches apart, 
which would accommodate all double 
tracked vehicles. He evolved a joint for the 
sections, flexible enough not to overstress 
the treadways, yet strong and rigid enough 
so that loads would be distributed over 
several pontons at once, thus providing the 
continuous beam action that Stanley and 
Oliver feared would prove most difficult to 

Although Oliver had money enough to 
order some treadways fabricated to Cow- 
ley's design, he preferred to clear the matter 
with OCE, explaining his point of view thus 
to Besson : 

There is a well equipped shop in Louisville 
which is willing to do the work for us and I 
believe wc can secure much more rapid results 
than we can if you do it for us, because of the 
fact that wc can quickly carry out tests and 
can immediately have changes made as indi- 
cated. Please do not consider that we are 
in any way dissatisfied with the work of the 
Engineer Board for we are not. You are just 
so far away from us that quick results are 
difficult to attain, and we know of no more 
valuable use for the funds I mentioned as 
available. ic 

The board objected. Admitted that Ar- 
mored Force engineers knew their own prob- 
lems better and could concentrate all their 

40 Ltr, Engr I Armd Corps to Engr Bd, n.d. 
[written sometime between 1 1 February and 3 
March 1941]. ERDL file, EB 83. 

The authors have been unable to locate the letter 
written to Kingman which is referred to in the 
letter to the board cited here. 



time and talent on solving them. Yet it was 
quite a gamble, the board argued, to trans- 
fer responsibility to an officer or command 
apt to be transient and apt to ignore the 
interrelationship of plans, specifications, and 
procurement which the board so well under- 
stood. Responsibility for new designs should 
remain centered in a permanent agency. 
Baker recommended to Chorpening that 
Armored Force engineers either submit their 
designs for approval or detail an officer to 
Belvoir. The board was not standing still. 
The old treadways had been redesigned and 
a test unit would be delivered to Knox by 
mid-March. At the same time, the board 
professed itself agreeable to Oliver's buying 
treadways in Louisville. What it did insist 
upon was an "opportunity to check . . . 
work [done at Fort Knox] from the point 
of view of its broader experience." 41 

On 5 March, before Oliver received any 
of these objections, he arrived in Washing- 
ton with Cowley's plans in his briefcase. 
When Kingman told him he was opposed to 
surrendering the board's authority, Oliver 
argued for complete freedom. Was King- 
man willing to accept responsibility for fail- 
ure of Armored Force engineers to carry out 
their mission for lack of suitable bridges? 
Kingman finally said no, and gave Oliver 
permission to go ahead. Arriving back at 
headquarters, Oliver placed an order with 
the Louisville firm for enough treadway 
decking to span Salt River. 12 

It was precisely at this time, when the 
engineers at Knox had the freest hand in 
carrying out their ideas, that the engineers 
at Belvoir did most to help them. The En- 
gineer Board had been pushing the develop- 
ment of pneumatic floats vigorously. In 
March 1941, before Armored Force engi- 
neers had received the treadways from 
Louisville, the board sent some small pneu- 

matic floats to Knox, Receipt of these floats 
brought about a radical change in the con- 
ception of the Armored Force bridge. On 
25 April Oliver wrote Baker: 

I have thought of our assault boats as being 
superior to the rubber boats, but have changed 
my mind. ... As a matter of fact, Stanley 
and I are ahead of you now and are thinking 
of the use of the large rubber boats, in con- 
junction with the treadways we are develop- 
ing here. 

The light, easily transported floats would re- 
place the bulky 25 -ton pontons. Oliver asked 
the Engineer Board to supply larger pneu- 
matic floats, and Cowley was put to work 
designing "saddles" for the treadways to 
rest upon.* 8 

Early in June, a treadway bridge built 
with 25-ton pontons and a treadway raft 
built with floats were demonstrated at Fort 
Knox. This demonstration settled for all 
practical purposes the question of bridging 
for the Armored Force. More treads, floats, 
and truck cranes to handle the treadways 
were immediately ordered. On 22 Septem- 
ber 1941, OCE recommended that all fixed 
and floating bridging and the 30-ton ferry 
be deleted from the Armored Corps T/BA, 

41 (1) Memo, ExO Engr Bd for Chorpening, 24 
Feb 41, sub: Col Oliver's Ltr to Gen Kingman re: 
Design of Port Trestle Bridge. ERDL file, EB 84. 
(2) Draft of Ltr, Besson to Oliver, 5 Mar 41. ERDL 
file, EB 83. 

" ( 1 ) Notation in index to ERDL file, EB 83, 
Ferries, 5 Mar 41. (2) Ltr, Oliver to C of EHD, 31 
Mar 51. (3) Interv, Cowley, 7 Mar 51. (4) Memo, 
Oliver for Col Johns, 23 Jan 47, with Ltr, Dir of 
Mil Opns to CG Engr Center, 28 Jan 47, sub: 
Steel Treadway Bridging. R&D Div Structures Dev 
Br. (5) Interv, Adcock, 27 Dec 51. 

The authors have been unable to locate a letter 
of refusal supposedly already mailed. Oliver recalls 
in his letter of 31 March 1951 that it set forth "in 
general" the same arguments as those mentioned 
in the memorandum from Baker to Chorpening 
cited in note 41 ( 1 ) . 

"Ltr, Engr I Armd Corps to Baker, 25 Apr 41. 
ERDL file, SP 305. 



and the steel treadway bridge be substituted. 
The bridge train was reduced to five sixths 
its former size. Furthermore the speed of 
construction of the treadway bridge as com- 
pared with the standard ponton was strik- 
ing. In December 1941, the 17th Engineer 
Armored Battalion sponsored a demonstra- 
tion at Fort Benning, Georgia, setting up 
uniform conditions for purposes of compari- 
son. A 315-foot pneumatic-float treadway 
bridge of 30-ton capacity was built across 
the Chattahoochee River by 154 trained of- 
ficers and men from the 1 7th in 2 1 / 2 hours. 
It took 245 men of the 87th Engineer Heavy 
Ponton Battalion 4 J/2 hours to put across a 
25-ton ponton bridge 328 feet long. 

A wave of triumph swept through the 
engineer contingent at Fort Knox. The 
imagination of Stanley, the persistence of 
Oliver, and the ingenuity of Cowley had 
been rewarded in full measure. Among the 
observers from the Engineer Board, Besson 
and Mullins could point to the pneumatic 
floats and share credit for the achievement. 
Yet these two shared also Chorpening's mis- 
giving as he turned and said, "We've 
adopted something without a real service 
test." Otherwise the remark was drowned 
out in the tide of enthusiasm. Less than a 
year later it was to prove prophetic. 44 

Good as the treadway bridge looked in 
December 1941 no one suggested that it be 
universally adopted. The Armored Force 
had got what it wanted. What it had was not 
desired elsewhere. This remained true even 
as armor came to be accepted as an accom- 
paniment of infantry. The treadway bridge 
was expensive and less durable than 
standard ponton bridges. Perhaps most im- 
portant — speedy construction of bridges 
was not considered as essential by infantry 
as by armored divisions, for the lightly 

equipped assault infantry could be ferried 

By December 1941 the Engineer Board 
had completed tests of light infantry sup- 
port rafts and bridging similar to that which 
had speeded German river crossings. The 
new equipment was far more efficient for 
ferrying operations than the standard pon- 
ton equipage relied on previously. Con- 
structed of plywood half-boats and tread- 
ways or pneumatic floats supporting 
standard balk and chess, these rafts and 
bridges had a capacity somewhat under 10 
tons and took up relatively little transport 
space. Their adoption enabled the Engineers 
to reduce the amount of bridging assigned to 
the field army and the number of light pon- 
ton units from four to two. 45 

Provision of heavier bridges was con- 
spicuously less successful. The long- 
sustained hopes that the 25-ton ponton 
would serve were dashed shortly after de- 
livery of the pilot model of the Sherman 
medium tank. The Sherman weighed 33 
tons. Tests of the 25-ton bridge showed it 
could not carry the new tank unless rein- 
forced, and that the ultimate reinforced 
capacity of the bridge was about 35 tons. 
By November the board was working to 
raise the base capacity of the 25-ton ponton 
to 3 1 tons so that medium tanks accompany- 
ing divisional units could pass over it. 46 

The increasing weight of tanks was also 
causing trouble with fixed bridges. While 
more girders could be added to the H-10 or 

44 (1) Intervs, Chorpening, 4 Jun 51, and Mullins, 
11 Apr 53. (2) See below, [ppT4»b-8y.| 

45 Memo, ACofEngrs (Sturdevant) for AGofS 
G-3, 26 Dec 41, sub: Changes in River Crossing 
Equip and Ponton Units. 320.2, Pt. 14. 

" (1) Engr Bd Rpt 647, 1 Dec 41, sub: Interim 
Rpt on Tests of Medium (25-Ton) Ponton Bridge. 
(2) Ltr, ExO OCE to Comdt Engr Sch, 4 Nov 41, 
sub: Character of Floating Bridge Equip. 417, 
Pt. 11. 



PNEUMATIC-FLOAT TREADWAY BRIDGE built across the Chattahoochee River, 
December 1941. Medium tank crossing the bridge is an M3A3, weighing approximately 30 tons. 

the H-20 or their spans shortened in order 
to make them sustain heavier loads, such 
alterations led to a less efficient piece of 
equipment. Another general drawback of 
both these bridges was the heaviness and 
bulkiness of their components, which made 
them difficult to transport and, in the case 
of the H-20, slow to erect. 47 

But more serious than the difficulties the 
Engineers faced in keeping up with increas- 
ing weights was the manner in which they 
had solved their basic problem, namely, by 
providing a multiplicity of bridges. The 
British, by contrast, had been working to- 
ward the provision of all-purpose equipage, 
and by the summer of 1941 were ready to 
begin production of the Bailey bridge, so 
called for its designer, Sir Donald Coleman 

Bailey. The Bailey was strikingly different 
from any American military bridge because 
most of its structural members were above 
rather than beneath its roadway. The Bail- 
ey's main support was a continuous truss 
on either side of the roadway, joined be- 
neath by transoms. Unlike the box sections 
of the H-10 and H-20, the Bailey's sec- 
tions which, joined together, formed the 
truss, were flat panels. They were much 
lighter — a Bailey panel weighed 600 pounds 
or about half that of a section of H-10 
bridge. Although the Bailey could be han- 
dled and transported more easily because 

17 ( 1 ) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to C of Dev Br, 19 Mar 
41, sub: Launching Noses for H-10 Bridge. (2) Ltr, 
ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 28 Apr 41, sub: Rev 
Specification for H-10 Bridge. Both in R&D Div 
Structures Dev Br, SP 266. 



of its "knocked-down" sections, more parts 
had to be fitted together before launching 
than in the H-10 or H-20 bridges. It was 
reported that a British crew of 53 men built 
an 80-foot, 21 -ton capacity Bailey in 2 hours 
and 20 minutes, taking slightly more time 
than for an H^IO and much less than for 
an H-20. The great advantage of the Bailey 
was its adaptability to various loads. For 
example, a certain number of panels fitted 
together would take 28 tons over a 60-foot 
span; by adding more panels both along- 
side and above one another, it would take 
this weight over a 1 70-foot span. It could be 
constructed to carry as much as 78 tons 
over a 120-foot span. The Americans had 
no bridge that would take so much weight, 
let alone one that was capable of meeting 
such a variety of weights and situations. As 
a further selling point, there was a great 
deal to be gained if British and Americans 
standardized on the same bridge. Because 
the Bailey could be erected as a single span 
over narrow crossings, as a multiple span 
with trestles over wider ones, and because 
there was good reason to believe that it could 
be floated on pontons, it appeared an "all- 
purpose" bridge had been found. 48 

In the summer of 1940 Besson returned 
from England with working drawings of the 
Bailey. The Engineer Board asked Sverdrup 
and Parcel to use them, but to modify the 
design sufficiently to make the bridge con- 
form to the practices of American rolling 
mills. Three weeks after Pearl Harbor Chor- 
pening wrote G— 4 asking permission to 
spend $50,000 to buy one Bailey bridge. 
Tests would show whether the Bailey was 
versatile enough to replace some or all of 
the bridges on which the Corps of Engineers 
had expended so much effort during the 
prewar years. 49 

Although the design and selection of 

bridging equipage received most attention 
by far in the period before Pearl Harbor, 
the Corps of Engineers was also concerned 
with the mobility of ponton units and with 
the question of whether ponton troops, here- 
tofore simply caretakers, should not be 
charged also with construction of bridges. 
In the spring of 1 940 the advent of heavier 
tanks made the activation of a heavy pon- 
ton battalion imperative. Authorized in 
June, the heavy ponton battalion was pro- 
vided with up-to-date trucks and trailers 
which reduced the length of its train and 
enabled it to keep up with armored units. 50 
According to doctrine, ponton troops 
were to deliver bridging equipage and pro- 
vide instruction and technical advice to the 
general units which were charged with the 
actual construction. Ponton units were re- 
sponsible for maintaining and dismantling 

" ( 1 ) Sir Donald Coleman Bailey, Robert Arthur 
Foulkes, and Rodman Digby-Smith, "The Bailey 
Bridge and Its Developments," The Civil Engineer 
in War, A Symposium of Papers on War-Time Engi- 
neering Problems (London: The Institution of Civil 
Engineers, 1948) I, pp. 374-80, 390-98, 401. (2) 
Engr Bd Hist Study, The Bailey Bridge. (3) Engr 
Bd Rpt 729, 5 Dec 42, sub: Panel Bridge (Bailey 
Type), H-10 Bridge and H-20 Bridge. (4) Ltr, 
Capt R. R. Arnold, CE Mil Obsvr, London, to Bes- 
son, 24 Oct 41. ERDL file, BR 341 E. (5) IncLn. d., 
with Memo, ExO Engr Bd for Sup Sec OCE, 23 
Dec 41, sub: Request for Authority to Procure 
One Unit of Experimental Port Steel Bridge. ERDL 
file, B R 341. 

See |p. 493 1 for illustration of the Bailey bridge. 

" ( 1 ) Engr Bd Hist Study, The Bailey Bridge. 
(2) Ltr, C of Intel Sec to Arnold, 24 Nov 41. 653, 
Pt. 4. (3) Ltr, Asst ExO Engr Bd to C. C. Bell, Tech 
Advisor (Bridging), Dept of National Defense, Can- 
ada, 26 Nov 41. ERDL file, BR 341. (4) Memo, 
Actg ExO Sup Div for ACofS G-4, 27 Dec 41, 
sub: Request for Authority to Procure One Unit 
of Experimental Port Steel Bridge. R&D Div Struc- 
tures Dev Br, SP 341. 

50 (1) Memo, Actg CofEngrs to ACofS G-3, 17 
Jun 40, sub: Engr Trps for Proposed Increase in 
Army. 320.2, Pt. 24. (2) Memo, ExO OCE for Maj 
E. H. Brooks, 12 Aug 40, sub: Engr Activities. 
025, Pt. 1. 



the bridge. After experience in the 1940 
maneuvers the commanding officer of the 
70th Light Ponton Company suggested that 
the unit's mobility be increased and that it 
be made less of a depot outfit. He proposed 
that all its footbridges and assault boats be 
eliminated and that it be provided with its 
own transportation. Toward the end of 

1 940 OCE adopted these recommendations 
in part. The light ponton company was fur- 
nished its own trailers and some of its foot- 
bridges and assault boats were redistributed 
to corps engineers. 51 

During the fall 1940 research course at 
the Engineer School, the committees on 
river crossings recommended the assignment 
of bridge building to ponton units and corps 
engineers, the activities of divisional engi- 
neers to be limited to the assault wave. Spe- 
cially trained corps engineer units would 
take over for erection of light ponton bridges. 
Heavy ponton bridges would be built by 
heavy ponton battalions, with the aid of 
personnel from general units. 52 Early in 
1941, when friction developed between 
the commanders of a combat regiment 
and a light ponton company at Fort 
Benning, the issue was raised more spe- 
cifically. Kingman and Godfrey backed the 
regimental commander's view that the light 
ponton company was primarily a transpor- 
tation and care-taking unit. In January 

1941 the mission of the heavy ponton bat- 
talion had been modified to permit it to con- 
struct heavy bridges "under certain circum- 
stances," but this declaration of policy did 
not settle the issue. It was to arise again 
during maneuvers in 1941 and after Pearl 
Harbor. 53 

The engineer armored battalion, with its 
bridge company, represented an exception 
to the general doctrine and was subject to 
criticism even among armored engineers 

themselves. In March 1941 the research 
committee dealing with the mission and 
training of this unit noted that the bridge 
company did not have sufficient equipment 
for a major operation, that it deprived the 
battalion of working personnel for other mis- 
sions, that it added to the battalion's road 
space, and that there was considerable ter- 
rain where it would not be needed. The 
committee urged the elimination of the 
bridge company and its replacement by a 
lettered company. 5 * These recommendations 
came in the midst of development of the 
steel treadway bridge, and, as Clarke later 
recalled, the bridge company "was built 
around equipment that was not in existence, 
but equipment we hoped ultimately to get. 
The purpose of it was to establish a bridge 
organization that would guide our thinking 
and development." 55 When the com- 
mandant of the Engineer School endorsed 
the proposal for eliminating the bridge com- 
pany, the Armored Force argued for its 
retention, at least for the time being. The 

51 (1) EFM, Vol. I, 1932, pp. 227-29. (2) Ltr, 
CO 70th Engr Co to CofEngrs, 27 May 40, sub: 
The Ponton Co. 320.2, Pt. 24. (3) Rpt, Capt Carl 
W. Meyer, The Use, Orgn, and Equip of the Pon- 
ton Co, Incl with Ltr, OCE to Comdt Engr 
Sch, 8 Aug 40, sub: Rpt on Light Ponton Co. 320.2, 
Pt. 24. (4) Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 4 Dec 40, 
sub: Change in T/BA 5, 1 Nov 40. 400.34, Pt. 36. 
(5) Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 16 Dec 40, sub: Light 
Ponton Co Equipage. AG 400.43 (11-11-36) (1) 
Sec 1-111. 

52 (1) Rpt, River Crossing Technique. (2) Rpt, 
River Crossings, Bridge Tactics. Both in First Re- 
search Course, Vol. I. 

ra (1) T/O 5-47, 1 Nov 40. (2) Corresp between 
Lt Col W. F. Heavey, CO 20th Engrs, Kingman, 
and Godfrey, Jan- Apr 41, 417, Pt. 9. 

M ( 1 ) Ltr, Stanley, CO 1 6th Armd Engr Bn, to 
Godfrey, 1 Sep 40. R&D Div Mech Equip Br, Pile 
Drivers No. 1. (2) Info Bull 71, 2 Jan 41, sub: 
Mission, Duties, and Tng of Div Engr Units. (3) 
Rpt, Mission and Tng of Engr Bn (Armd). Second 
Research Course, Vol, II. 

55 Ltr, Clarke to C of EHD, 24 May 51. 



need for additional troops in the engineer 
armored battalion could not be gainsaid, 
but this deficiency, the Armored Force em- 
phasized, should not be confused with the 
need for bridging in close support of 
armor — a fact which foreign armies had 
recognized. Until a heavy ponton company 
and a fully motorized company having 500 
feet of portable bridge became available for 
normal attachment to each armored divi- 
sion, the engineer armored battalion was 
not ready for a change. Nor did change 
come until well after Pearl Harbor. 55 

Passage of Artificial Obstacles 

With bridging and with construction ma- 
chinery the Corps of Engineers prepared to 
overcome the enemy's exploitation of natu- 
ral obstacles. Encouraged by the feats of 
German engineers in the passage of mine 
fields and in the reduction of deliberate for- 
tifications, the Corps gave thought to the 
execution of these duties, but before Pearl 
Harbor the amount of theorizing exceeded 
the amount of down-to-earth testing of 
doctrine and equipment. The first attempt 
to compare the effectiveness of various arti- 
ficial obstacles was made at the request of 
the Engineer Board in 1937 and 1938 by a 
number of engineer troop units. Their study 
included land mines, antitank ditches, 
wooden piling, wire rolls, and road craters. 
All of these, it was concluded, would pro- 
vide adequate barriers to tanks and trucks 
if properly and strategically placed. 57 

The second evaluation of the effectiveness 
of obstacles resulted from the research 
course at the Engineer School. The commit- 
tee on obstacles stated baldly that "anti- 
tank mines alone are likely to constitute an 
effective obstacle" and that "other ob- 
stacles serve merely to augment the mine or 

replace it if normal supply fails." The supe- 
riority of the land mine over all other ob- 
stacles was not only evident in its crippling 
effect upon vehicles, but in the ease with 
which it could be transported, put in place, 
and concealed. The heavy steel and con- 
crete obstacles which had been employed as 
part of the fortified lines of the continental 
countries required extensive fabrication and 
thousands of man-hours in placement. 
Such deliberate fortifications might be in- 
stalled at Panama or Hawaii but had no 
place in a mobile situation. Craters and 
ditches, abatis, log obstacles, and wire rolls, 
the committee concluded, were suitable for 
installation in the field and were more or less 
effective, particularly if used in conjunction 
with mines. 58 

The technical aspects of land mines were 
matters in which responsibilities were di- 
vided between the Ordnance Department 
and the Corps of Engineers. Ordnance had 
the duty of developing the mines themselves 
while the Engineers were to develop means 
of detecting them. Both services were in- 
volved in the techniques and equipment for 
clearing them out of the way. In April 1940 
the Engineer Board had been directed to 
investigate means for the detection, destruc- 
tion, and removal of antitank mines, but 

M (1) 2d Ind, CG Armd Force to TAG, 10 Oct 
40, on Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 23 Sep 40, sub: 
Asgmt of 87th Engr Bn, Heavy Ponton. 320.2, 
87th Engrs. (2) Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch to CofEngrs, 
1 Apr 41, sub: Rpt on Mission and Tng of Engr Bn 
(Armd). 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 10. (3) 1st Ind, 
20 May 41, on Memo, C of O&T Sec for C of Armd 
Force, 8 Apr 41, sub: Rpt of Research Comrrt on 
Mission and Tng of Engr Bn (Armd). 352.11, Engr 
Sch, Pt. 11. 

57 (1) Engr Bd Rpt 517, 4 Dec 37, sub: Mines 
and Obstacles for Use Against Mechanized (or 
Motorized) Units. (2) Info Bull 27, 20 Jul 39, sub: 
Mines and Obstacles for Use Against Mechanized or 
Motorized Units. 

H Rpt, Comm on Obstacles, 28 Nov 40. First Re- 
search Course, Vol. I. 


during the following months the pressure 
of other work pushed the project into the 
background. Concerted efforts to develop a 
detector finally got under way in earnest 
in the fall of 1940. 

The fact that all .mines known to exist 
in 1940 were encased in metal simplified 
greatly the development of a mechanism 
which would signal the presence of a mine. 
In fact, there were on the market a number 
of "detectors" which had been used for such 
diverse purposes as the discovery of metal 
objects in the mattresses of convicts and the 
location of mineral deposits. Moreover, the 
British, French, and German Armies were 
equipped with mine detectors with which 
the Engineers were more or less familiar. But 
while commercial detectors were useful as 
a starting point, none could be adopted for 
military purposes without modification, and 
the Engineers' attitude toward the adoption 
of a detector in use by a foreign army was 
the cautious one of testing with the desire to 
improve upon it. 

On 3 September 1940 the Engineers 
asked the National Defense Research Com- 
mittee (NDRC) for assistance in the de- 
velopment of a metallic mine detector. The 
device, wrote Godfrey, must be capable of 
detecting a steel plate '/a of an inch thick, 
1 fl inches sqtiaTC, buried 1 8 inches helow the 
surface of the ground. The indicator must 
be simple so that personnel with little or no 
scientific training could read it. It should 
be rugged as well as light. Referral of this 
investigation to the NDRC did not result in 
cessation of the Engineer Board's activity. 
On the contrary, as personnel became avail- 
able shortly thereafter, the board was able to 
devote more time and effort to the subject 
than before. For the better part of 1941 the 
NDRC and the Engineer Board sponsored 
parallel investigations. 

After canvassing the market, Capt. 
George A. Rote, who was in charge of the 
investigation at the board, purchased seven 
nf the most promising commercial detectors- 
Six of this group operated on a radio-fre- 
quency principle. The seventh, a device 
which Hedden Metal Locators, Inc., of 
Miami, Florida, demonstrated in Febru- 
ary 1941, appealed particularly to Rote be- 
cause it operated on audio-frequency. Tt was 
relatively light and possessed about the de- 
gree of sensitivity required. By the summer 
of 1941 Rote had settled upon the Hedden 
instrument as the starting point for further 

Meanwhile the NDRC had contracted 
with the Hazeltine Service Corporation, a 
radio research establishment located at Lit- 
tle Neck, New York. Hazeltine produced a 
detector which was delivered to Fort Bel- 
voir on 1 August. When lined up with the 
Hedden detector which the board had modi- 
fied, the Hazeltine model had the disad- 
vantage of heing heavier and bulkier. The 
board's investigators indicated their pref- 
erence for the Hcddcn-type detector, but 
realized that the Hedden company lacked 
facilities for quickly carrying out the many 
refinements required for quantity produc- 
tion. Hazeltine, on the other hand, was 
eminently equipped to take on this Job, and 
did so following a conference at Fort Bclvoir 
early in August, 

The operator of SCR-625 (as the 
Hcdden-Engineer Board-Hazeltine mine 
detector came to be called after the nomen- 
clature of the Signal Corps which procured 
it) carried in his hand an exploring rod six 
feet long at the lower end of which was a 
pie-shaped search coil containing both 
transmitting and receiving elements. Bat- 
teries and an amplifier were carried in a 
haversack strapped to the operator's side. 

A resonator was attached to his shoulder. 
The presence of metal in the vicinity of the 
search coil produced a signal which was 
amplified into a warning sound in the 
resonator. SCR-625 would detect a metal- 
lic mine buried 6 to 12 inches. Its penetra- 
tion was thus less than the 18-inch depth 
Godfrey had specified, but in practice few 
mines were buried deeper than a foot. By 
February 1 942 the Engineers were in a posi- 
tion to standardize this set. 59 

The development of the portable mine 
detector was the outstanding Engineer con- 
tribution to the passage of artificial obstacles 
made during the defense period. Other 
studies by the Engineer Board and the Engi- 
neer School, notably the testing of various 
means of breaching shellproof and splinter- 
proof weapons emplacements, resulted in 

some additional knowledge of demolitions 
techniques, but the inauguration of a com- 
prehensive program for determining the 
most efficient means of reducing obstacles 
did not occur until 1942. 90 

Equipment for Aviation Engineers 

By December 1941 the Engineers had ac- 
complished the fundamental changes dic- 

59 (1) Engr Bd Rpt 678, 12 Mar 42, sub: Mine 
Detector Developed by Engr Bd. (2) Engr Bd Hist 
Study, Metallic Mine Detectors. (3) Engr Bd 
Monthly Rpts, Apr-Sep 40. (4) Ltr, C of O&T 
Sec to Chm NDRC, 3 Sep 40, sub : Design of De- 
vice for Detection of Buried Antitank Mines. 470.8, 
Pt. 2. (5) Ltr, Hazeltine Service Corp. to Dr. 
George R. Harrison, 4 Oct 41. ERDL file, GN 316. 

°°(1) Capt. William Whipple, Jr., "Assault of a 
Fortified Position," The Military Engineer, XXXIII 
(Mar ch- April, 1941), 85-94. (2) See below, Ch. 
XX. I 



tated by the new-found mobility of ground 
force units. They had, moreover, made a 
similar adjustment to the most mobile com- 
ponent of the new Army — the Air Corps. 
When, in the fall of 1939, the General Staff 
approached the Engineers about their serv- 
ice with the Air Corps, Kingman had noted 
that special equipment, as well as special 
troops, would be required for the construc- 
tion of airfields. Seven months later, when 
the 21st Engineer Aviation Regiment be- 
came the first engineer unit attached to the 
Air Corps, its troops were assigned only the 
basic construction machinery issued to the 
general service regiment. Although Davi- 
son, commanding the 21st just before his 
assignment as Air Engineer, had given 
some thought to the special requirements of 
this new unit, it fell to Chorpening as chief 
of OCE's Development Branch, to make an 
immediate selection for procurement. He 
invited a construction contractor friend of 
West Point days home for the weekend. To- 
gether, they drew up a list of construction 
machinery which Kingman approved late 
in July. 81 

In making his selections Chorpening as- 
sumed that aviation regiments would build 
advance airdromes twenty to seventy miles 
behind the front and that such troops would 
remain in one place for a relatively long 
period of time. Because aviation engineers 
would not have to keep up with advance 
columns and because they had to be pre- 
pared to deal with all sorts of climatic and 
soil conditions, Chorpening assigned to 
them a great variety of the heavier, more 
efficient types of machinery. For grading 
and transporting fill, aviation units were 
equipped with four sizes of tractors; disk 
and tractor plows ; rubber-tired, sheepsfoot, 
and tandem rollers; large carrying scrapers 
and shovels with draglines; and road grad- 

ers and leaning wheel graders. Although 
aware that paving operations would be 
time-consuming, Chorpening thought that 
aviation engineers should be equipped to 
build bituminous or concrete runways if the 
ground encountered did not offer sufficient 
bearing capacity. For such work aviation 
engineers were to get concrete and road ma- 
terial mixers and asphalt and emulsion dis- 
tributors. In all, aviation engineers were to 
receive twenty-six pieces of "special" ma- 
chinery and were to come closer to carry- 
ing a "construction plant" than any other 
engineer unit. Although agreeing whole- 
heartedly with Chorpening's selection of 
tractors, scrapers, and other grading ma- 
chinery, Davison, Smyser, and other officers 
with the Air Corps were becoming con- 
vinced that hard-surfaced runways were a 
luxury that aviation engineers could not 
afford. They consequently questioned the 
need for paving machinery. se The planes in 
existence at the time the Engineers were 
told to prepare for their mission with the 
Air Corps were so light that sod fields would 
suffice for advance bases. Runways for 
bombers based in rear areas could be built 
like standard highways. These plans for 
simple construction were almost obsolete as 
soon as made, for the Air Corps was even 
then designing heavier planes which called 
for runways of greater bearing capacity. 
Constructing runways at the front and more 

™ (1) 1st Ind, 16 Oct 39, on Ltr, AGO to Cof- 
Engrs, 21 Sep 39, sub: T/Os. 320.2, Pt. 22. (2) 
Stuart C. Godfrey, "Engineers With the Army Air 
Forces," The Military Engineer, XXXIII (Novem- 
ber, 1941), 488. (3) Interv, Chorpening, 10 Jul 
50. (4) Memo, C of Sup Sec for Kingman, 26 Jul 
40, sub: Activities for Period 20-26 Jul 40. EHD 
files (5) Ltr, Smyser to C of EHD, 5 Jun 52. 

62 (1) Info Bull 53, 1 Aug 40, sub: Constr of Mil 
Airports. (2) Carroll T. Newton, "Construction of 
Military Airports," Civil Engineering, XI (April, 
1941), 208, 211. (3) T/BA, 1 Nov 40. (4) Ltr, 
Smyser to C of EHD, 5 Jun 52. 



AVIATION ENGINEER EQUIPMENT. R oa d scrapers towed by tractors are grading 
for a landing field, 1st Army maneuvers, North Carolina, October 1941. 

elaborate ones farther back, as the planes 
being contemplated in 1939 dictated, 
would take a long time — long enough to 
interfere seriously with the striking power of 
the air arm. 63 

No wonder then that the Air Corps ex- 
pressed immediate interest in news that the 
British and French were laying down port- 
able steel mats as a substitute for hard-sur- 
faced runways. In December 1939, the Air 
Corps asked the Engineers to develop a simi- 
lar landing mat. Since practically nothing 
was known about the subject, the two serv- 
ices agreed that the Engineers would attempt 
to get more information from abroad, would 
canvass the American market for likely ma- 
terials, and, after conducting field tests with 
loaded trucks, choose the most promising 
types for service tests with planes. To carry 
out this program, the Air Corps set aside 
$30,000 of fiscal year 1940 funds— $5,000 

for preliminary and $25,000 for service tests. 
The goal was a suitable mat by 1 July 
1940. 64 

The Chief of Engineers assigned the 
supervision of this investigation to the Con- 
struction Section, OCE, whose chief was 
Lt. Col. George Mayo. Responsibility for 
testing was placed upon Maj. William N. 
Thomas, Jr., at that time the only Engi- 
neer officer with GHQ Air Force, who thus 

83 ( 1 ) Memo, Cof AC for Col Lindbergh and 
Col Spaatz, 25 Jul 39. AAF 611 "A" to Jul 40— 
Roads. (2) Memo, Plans Div Office Cof AC for 
Maj Gen Henry H. Arnold, 12 Aug 39. Same file. 
(3) 1st Ind, 16 Oct 39, on Ltr, AGO to CofEngrs, 
21 Sep 39, sub: T/BAs. 320.2, Pt. 22. 

04 The following discussion of the development of 
landing mats is based upon: ( 1 ) Corresp in 686, Pt. 
1; 686.61, Pts. 1 and 2; 686, SP 318, Pt. 1; and 
400.112, Landing Mats, Bulky; (2) Engr Bd Rpts 
605, 15 Oct 40, sub: Tests of Emergency Landing 
Mats for Airfields, and 638, 15 Oct 41, sub: Emer- 
gency Landing Mats for Airfields; and (3) Ltr, Col 
George Mayo to C of EHD, 15 Jun 52. 



assumed personally the role ordinarily 
played by the Engineer Board. Mayo and 
Thomas did not wait for reports from 
abroad but immediately sought suggestions 
from Clarence E. Meissner, the Washington 
representative of the United States Steel 
Corporation. On 18 December 1939, they 
met with Meissner, his colleague, Charles 
W. Meyers, of the American Steel and 
Wire Company, and two representatives 
from the Office of the Chief of the Air 
Corps. Meyers exhibited samples of a rec- 
tangular wire mesh which he believed 
would prove superior to the chevron grid 
in use abroad. In February 1940, the En- 
gineers ordered enough rectangular grid 
for field tests, which were held in late 

Far from providing the firm base neces- 
sary, the rectangular grid showed serious 
weaknesses: connectors broke, anchors 
failed, furrows and depressions appeared. 
Although Thomas recommended that ef- 
forts be made to correct these deficiencies, 
he also began to look about for something 
else. On 4 April 1940 he and several repre- 
sentatives of the steel industry met in Mayo's 
office. Pointing out that the rolling mills 
were piled up with orders while the strip 
mills were not busy, Gerald G. Greulich of 
Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation sug- 
gested thin steel plates as an alternative 
to grid and volunteered to design a "plank" 
type mat and connectors. 

Greulich's design had progressed to the 
ordering stage by the first of May, when 
Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the 
Air Corps, began to express impatience. 
"The requirements," he stated, "may be 
divided into two separate categories : First, 
pursuit and observation, i. e., light weight 
types. Second, bombardment, i. e., heavy 
load types." It seemed possible to him that 

"if no delays are incurred and if this project 
is pushed that some concrete decision can be 
arrived at by the first of the Fiscal Year 
1941." 85 

In replying Mayo outlined general plans 
but avoided specific commitments. As to re- 
quirements, the investigation had already 
led to the conclusion that they were divided 
into "two categories" so that "study will go 
forward under these headings." He could 
also report that "within the past week steps 
have been taken which will insure that all 
speed consistent with the production of a 
satisfactory solution will be made." Specifi- 
cally, these steps were the assignment of the 
project to the Engineer Board which would 
hereafter work in close alliance with the 
21st Engineer Aviation Regiment and its 
commanding officer, Davison, both on the 
development of the mats themselves and on 
techniques for their camouflage. As to a 
product by the first of July, Mayo made no 
promises. Indeed so far was he from ex- 
pecting the deadline to be met that he 
sought the Air Corps' permission to divert 
$25,000 of the $30,000 allotted to the de- 
velopment of landing mats to the purchase 
of construction machinery for the 2 1st Engi- 
neers. If this plan were approved, he pro- 
posed to set aside an equivalent amount 
from Engineer funds to take care of the tests 
of landing mats which would take place 
during the coming months. 66 

Arnold's answer to the request for trans- 
fer of funds was emphatic. "The most recent 
information from operations now in progress 
abroad," he wrote, "indicates that perma- 
nent runways are out of the question in 
modern warfare," causing "the development 

85 The memo, while not signed by Arnold, was 
written at his request. Memo, ACofAG for Mayo, 
1 May 40, sub: Tests of Port Steel Landing Mats. 
686, Pt. 1. 

M 1st Ind, 13 May 40, on memo cited n. 65. 



of landing and take-off mats to assume the 
highest possible priority." Several landing 
mats were needed immediately in Puerto 
Rico. "It is strongly recommended," he con- 
cluded with some sarcasm, "that the policy 
be followed of supplying something usable 
and suitable at once, rather than reaching 
ultimate perfection at a later and undeter- 
mined date." 67 

Kingman was quick to assure Arnold the 
Engineers were making progress. Stronger 
connecting links were being procured for 
the rectangular grid; interlocking steel 
plates had been ordered; mats similar to 
those used in Europe were being investi- 
gated. But, he emphasized, "The Chief of 
Engineers is anxious to avoid a commitment 
to a portable landing mat without reason- 
ably conclusive tests." 88 

On 4 June Arnold was on the telephone 
demanding a report from Schley. Despite 
strong doubts that anything "usable and 
suitable" would result, the Engineers felt 
compelled to produce something. After a 
conference with Kingman on 14 June, 
Mayo directed the board to submit a report 
by 1 July. Kingman would have none of 
Mayo's arguments that the chevron grid 
mat would prove worthless for any but the 
lightest aircraft. With full knowledge that 
neither this type nor the steel plank mat had 
been given field tests, Kingman ordered 
Mayo to buy enough of both for service 
testing. Although by mid-June this display 
of activity led an Air Corps officer to assure 
Arnold that "there will be no further delay 
in carrying forth this project to a rapid con- 
clusion," the situation hardly warranted the 
hope that the 1 July deadline would be 
met. 69 

The deadline was met, however— at least 
to the satisfaction of the Air Corps. On 28 
June, when the steel plank mat was sub- 

mitted to tests under truck loads, Maj. 
Charles Y. Banfill, the Air Corps' repre- 
sentative at the Engineer Board, concluded 
that something "usable and suitable" had 
been found. "The tests, by no means ex- 
haustive," he wrote the board, "indicated to 
me that the planking, laid on properly pre- 
pared surface would prove a suitable sup- 
port for landing and takeoff of any airplane 
now in service." He urged that the Air 
Corps be advised to go ahead and buy what- 
ever quantity it needed while the board pro- 
ceeded with tests of the steel planking and 
with their investigation of other promising 

With but one reservation, the Engineers 
were happy to endorse this statement. On 1 
July, Adcock, the Executive Officer, OCE, 
reported to Arnold : 

I feel that the tests [of the plank mat] . . . 
offer reasonable basis for the conclusion that 
a usable and suitable type of landing mat has 
been found. . . . Although actual landing 
by airplanes on this mat has not yet been 
tested, the opinion was unanimous among the 
Air Corps officers . . . that this mat was 
suitable for such landing. ... Of course our 
tests on this type, as well as other types, will 
continue in order that the most suitable type 
under all-round consideration can be deter- 
mined. ... It is suggested that no bulk 
purchase of any type of mat be made until 
the results of runway tests arc known. 71 

The whole episode took on a slightly 
whimsical tone when Schley and Kingman 
appeared in Arnold's office with a sample 

" 7 Ltr, CofAC to CofEngrs, 17 May 40, sub: Port 
Landing Mats. 400.112, Landing Mats, Bulky. 

08 1st Ind, 23 May 40, on ltr cited n. 67. 

69 Memo, Col William Ord Ryan, AC, for CofAC, 
17 Jun 40. 686, Pt. 1. 

™ Memo, Banfill for President Engr Bd, 29 Jun 
40, sub: Emergency Landing Mats for Airfields. 
686, Pt. 1. 

71 Ltr, ExO OCE to CofAC, 1 Jul 40, sub: Prog- 
ress Rpt on Emergency Landing Mats for Airfields. 
686, Pt. 1. 



of plank mat. Junior officers were charmed 
to see the generals on the floor, like small 
boys with an erector set, fitting the pieces 
together. 72 

By mid-August sufficient amounts of 
plank and chevron mat were on hand for 
a "touch-down" test, w r ith planes landing 
and taking off immediately. Except for some 
cutting and burning of tires, no damage was 
caused to planes or mat. In the course of 
further field tests, however, deficiencies 
showed up in both types of mat. The 
chevron proved difficult to fasten together 
and was dropped from consideration. The 
plank mat proved slippery in wet weather. 
To overcome this defect Greulich suggested 
roughening it by means of raised buttons. 

By September 1940 the board had added 
to its list of possibilities. Preliminary tests of 
grids constructed from expanded metal, 
deck grating, and bars and rods convinced 
Besson, who was in charge of this investiga- 
tion as well as bridging, that all possessed in 
common with the plank mat the essential 
characteristics for a runway suitable for the 
operation of both light and heavy planes. 
Contrary to Mayo's assurances to Arnold, 
the board had wrapped up in one package 
the requirements for a light and heavy type 
of mat by aiming to find one design that 
would serve all purposes. With four promis- 
ing designs on hand the board was anxious 
to receive from the Air Corps a more definite 
statement as to just what was needed both 
at the front and in the rear. The plank, ex- 
panded metal, deck grating, and bar and 
rod mats, Besson reported on 15 October 
1940, were all strong enough and smooth 
enough, could be laid down in about one 
day, could be produced in quantity, and 
could be repaired in sections. They varied 
in ease of camouflage, cost, production time, 
cargo space occupied, weight, ease of repair, 

durability, and degree of skidproofing. The 
board announced itself ready to procure one 
or more of these types in quantities for serv- 
ice test as soon as the Air Corps indicated 
the relative importance of these variable 
factors and the differences in the tactical use 
of landing mats for light and heavy planes. 

At this point the Engineers ran into diffi- 
culties in communication. Baker explained 
the maze thus to Besson : 

Major Wilson this morning asked the Office 
of the Chief of Air Corps for decisions on 
some of these important factors. He was in- 
formed that those decisions would have to 
be made by the GHQ Air Force if they were 
to be made by anyone in the Air Corps. 

So — the question came up as to how the 
Chief of Engineers should or could direct 
the commander of the GHQ Air Force to 
give this information. 

Col. Read, A. C. then suggested the follow- 
ing procedure : 

The Engineer Board, having authority to 
deal directly with the 21st Engrs, can take the 
matter up with Col. Johns — he in turn can 
request decisions from the GHQ Air Force 
Engineer, Col. Davison, who can then secure 
the desired information from the Staff and 
CO of the GHQ Air Force. Then ( I suppose) 
it can come back down to Col. Johns, from 
him to us, thence to the OCE, and finally 
from there will go the dope to the Chief of 
the Air Corps — what he will do I don't 
know. 73 

Through Lt. Col. Dwight S. Johns, com- 
manding the 21st, the Engineers got an 
unofficial answer. On 25 October Mayo 
and Besson sat down with Davison, Smyser, 
Thomas, and Banfill to go over Besson's 
questions. When they had finished, Arnold's 
urgent project had shrunk considerably in 
importance. It was the opinion of the ad- 
visers that landing mats would be used to a 

72 Interv, Adcock, 27 Dec 51. 

70 Memo, ExO Engr Bd for Besson, 20 Sep [40], 
sub: Tel Conv with Maj Wilson Today. ERDL 
file, SP 318. 



very limited extent, and then only for pur- 
suit planes and light bombers. A tendency 
to wear out tires or to corrode was not con- 
sidered particularly damning. What was 
essential for the few mats required was a 
reasonably skidproof surface which would 
lend itself to camouflage. Since no repre- 
sentatives of the Chief of the Air Corps had 
been present at the meeting, Kingman for- 
warded the conclusions to Arnold on 12 
November with copies of Besson's report. 
No comment — at least until 15 April 1941. 

Meanwhile the Engineers were forced to 
make a choice for the mat needed in Puerto 
Rico. They selected the deck grid manu- 
factured by the Irving Subway Company. 
It had an advantage over the steel plank in 
that it was easier to camouflage. It was more 
rugged than the expanded metal mat which 
had now been discarded because of the fail- 
ure of its connectors. It had undergone 
more thorough tests than the bar and rod 
type. During the spring of 1941 the Irving 
grid was laid down in Puerto Rico. All kinds 
of planes landed on it in all kinds of weather, 
and pilots considered it completely satis- 
factory. Grass growing through its openings 
so completely obscured it that white markers 
had to be placed on its edges. 

Yet the Engineer Board hesitated to 
recommend standardization. The plank mat 
possessed more bearing capacity, took up less 
cargo space, could be produced in greater 
quantity, and was cheaper. It "would prob- 
ably have been adopted as standard long 
before," asserted Besson, "if the Air 
Corps . . . had not stated that camouflage 
was of prime importance." Now Greulich, 
the designer of the plank mat, proposed 
piercing the sections in order to make the 
mat more susceptible to camouflage and 

more skidproof. The bar and rod mat, far 
from being ruled out, seemed to the Engi- 
neer Board to offer the advantages of a 
grid — that is, ease of camouflage and a non- 
skid surface, while being cheaper and 
capable of being produced in greater quan- 
tity than the Irving mat. But while the En- 
gineer Board recommended more work 
toward the improvement of these three 
mats, it clearly felt its main job was behind it 
by the spring of 1941. 74 

It was then that the Air Corps announced 
the board's work was only half done. Com- 
menting at last on Besson's report of October 
1940, the Chief of Staff, GHQ Air Force, 
announced that "the results obtained to date 
by the Engineer Board . . . indicate satis- 
factory progress in the development of a 
metal runway for heavy aircraft, but little 
progress upon the true emergency landing 
mat for light planes." The board had as- 
sumed — wrongly, he believed — that one 
mat could serve both purposes. The 
"emergency" mat for use in forward areas 
should weigh less than 3y 2 pounds per 
square foot. (None of the materials so far 
tested by the board was this light. ) A run- 
way 100 by 3,000 feet should be laid down 
in twenty-four hours. Ease of camouflage 
was essential. It did not need to be rigid, 
but it should not be excessively slippery. 
The "semi-permanent mat" from which 
heavy bombers would operate had to possess 
greater rigidity, could weigh as much as 
5 pounds per square foot, might take 72 
hours to lay down. Whatever the shock this 
news engendered at Belvoir, it was detailed 
enough and definite enough to provide a 
real guide for future work. From this time 

"Incl, 22 Mar 41, with Ltr, Engr Bd to Forti- 
fications Sec, 25 Mar 41, sub: Second Interim Rpt. 
686.61, Pt. 1. 



on investigations were pursued along the 
two separate lines indicated. 75 

In midsummer, after the board had tested 
two light, woven wire mats with indefinite 
results, the Air Corps called attention to a 
light British mat, known after its manufac- 
turer as Sommerfeld track. It weighed only 
one pound per square foot. Americans in 
England had seen planes land on it success- 
fully even in wet weather. On 22 July 1941, 
representatives of Air Corps, Engineer 
Board, and Fortifications (Construction) 
Section, OCE, agreed that priority would 
be given to developing a mat weighing less 
than two pounds and that Sommerfeld 
track would be among the types tested. 

The board found the Sommerfeld mat 
suitable enough to recommend for service 
testing in October 1941, but nevertheless 
expressed reservations about it because of 
the difficulty of handling the heavy rolls in 
which it was delivered. The Reliance Steel 
Products Company produced a lighter rod 
and bar mat, which, after preliminary tests, 
the board also considered suitable. Yet two 
months after Pearl Harbor, development of 
the light mat was still in the preliminary 
stage, no designs having as yet been service 

In the meantime, a heavy runway con- 
structed of pierced plank had been tested at 
the Carolina maneuvers in the fall of 1941. 
The weather was dry, the soil sandy. Under 
these conditions, it proved entirely satisfac- 
tory. Plank mat was also being utilized at 
several of the Atlantic bases, but the Engi- 
neer Board remained uneasy. Calling for 
more service tests in November 1941, Baker 
warned that "sooner or later one of these 
mats will be put down in a place where it is 
unsuitable." Although the Air Corps agreed 
that further tests would be desirable, none 
was arranged immediately. 76 

In the midst of the efforts to develop 
an acceptable landing mat, the Corps of En- 
gineers, in November 1940, received by 
transfer from The Quartermaster General 
the job of constructing airfields for the Air 
Corps in the United States. These fields 
were to be permanent pavements of either 
bituminous or concrete materials. The En- 
gineering Section, OCE, which had to rec- 
ommend methods of construction, soon dis- 
covered that little was known about the de- 
sign of such pavements. There began almost 
immediately a race to provide suitable bear- 
ing capacity for the increasing wheel loads 
of the new planes, but although some 
knowledge was gained during the year pre- 
ceding Pearl Harbor, a suitable design was 
not arrived at. Exactly what type of field 
was best for the aviation regiments and the 
general service regiments to build for the Air 
Forces in a theater of operations was still 
an open question when war came. At that 
time, the 21st Engineers were testing run- 
ways constructed of soil-cement, soil-as- 
phalt, and soil-treated Vinsol resin and com- 
paring them with landing mats. 77 

If Pearl Harbor found the Corps of En- 
gineers uncertain about many innovations, 
it also found the Corps possessed of the 
basic engineering tools of mobile warfare. 
The bulldozer had replaced the pick and 
shovel as the symbol of the engineer sol- 
dier. Behind the bulldozer stood the full 

15 1st Ind, 15 Apr 41, on Ltr, TAG to GHQ 
Air Force, 25 Feb 41, sub: Landing Mats for Air- 
craft. 686, SP 318, Pt. L 

"Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to Fortifications Sec, 10 
Nov 41, sub: Additional Sv Tests of Emergency 
Landing Mat. 686, SP 318, Pt. 1. 

" ( 1 ) Fine and Remington, The Corps of E ngi- 
neers: [Construction in the United States.] (2) 
Stuart C. Godfrey, "Engineers With the Army Air 
Forces," The Military Engineer, XXXIII (Novem- 
ber, 1941), 490. 



MAJ. GEN. HENRY H. ARNOLD, Chief of the Army Air Forces, inspecting a runway 
constructed of pierced steel plank, November 1941. 

power of construction machinery to move 
mountains and cut through jungle. In the 
steel treadway the Armored Force had a 
bridge which could be rapidly built to carry 
weights undreamed of in the mid-thirties. 
With the development of landing mats avi- 
ation engineers were furnished with a sim- 
ilar means of adjusting to the heavy loads 
of the newer bombers. 

The effort to revolutionize equipment 

had had its share of opposition both within 
and without the Corps, but nothing even 
approaching a counterrevolution was ever 
imagined. The differences between various 
groups arose mainly because of the presence 
of strong personalities. The force with which 
they presented their arguments, whether 
radical or conservative, worked in the long 
run toward achieving a balance between the 
new and the tried. 


Effects of Aerial Photography 
on Mapping and Camouflage 

To exploit fully the advantages of speed 
and mobility made possible by the motor 
vehicle, the tank, and the airplane, the new 
Army had to have maps charting areas deep 
within enemy territory. The Corps of Engi- 
neers, guided by the plans and policies of 
G-2 of the War Department General Staff, 
worked out the technical details and troop 
organization to meet demands for large 
quantities and different types of military 
maps. Essential to the accomplishment of 
this task were the motor vehicle and the air- 
plane, but most of all the airplane and its 
potential product, aerial photography. 

Topographic maps, which present both 
horizontal and vertical positions of terrain, 
are needed for most military operations. For 
making plans involving a large combat area, 
command and staff headquarters require 
general maps of a scale smaller than 
1 : 1 ,000,000 and strategic maps of some- 
what larger scale that show the relief, the 
major systems of communication, bodies of 
water, and centers of population. Air force 
navigators use charts of similar scale for 
long-distance flights. The stabilized trench 
warfare of World War I accustomed Ameri- 
can artillery units to the highly accurate 
large scale — 1 : 20,000 — battle map for fir- 
ing on unobservable targets, and the Field 
Artillery clung to this map despite the dis- 
tinctively mobile characteristics of the new 

Army. Even in a war of movement, the Field 
Artillery insisted, it must have such large- 
scale battle maps in order to reduce enemy 
strongholds and thus open the path for the 
advance of infantry and armor. Between 
the extremes of the strategic map and the 
precise battle map are tactical maps of scale 
1 : 1 00,000 and larger which are of primary 
interest to field commanders for selecting 
routes, controlling troop movements, and 
locating the enemy. Exact representation of 
transportation systems down to the measure- 
ment of roads is shown on the tactical map. 
If tactical and battle maps are not available, 
troops can secure terrain information from 
the more quickly prepared map substitutes. 
The photomap, for example, is an aerial 
photograph to which are usually added grid 
lines, contours, and place names, as well as 
indications of scale and direction. Although 
more difficult to interpret, map substitutes 
yield much more information than the hasty 
field sketches relied upon before advent of 
the airplane. 

Mapping Techniques 

Before development of the airplane and 
aerial photography, maps were prepared 
from data gathered by survey parties. Even 
with highly refined instruments for measur- 
ing distances and angles, such field surveys 



are time-consuming and costly. In rough 
terrain, forests, and swamps this work is 
especially difficult; in enemy territory it is 
virtually impossible because field parties 
have to occupy the ground they survey. 

Freedom from dependence upon ground 
surveys was forecast during World War I, 
when Maj. James W. Bagley, a former 
civilian employee of the U.S. Geological 
Survey and a pioneer in American photo- 
mapping, brought his recently invented tri- 
lens camera to France. Bagley's camera took 
one vertical and two oblique photographs 
and in that way produced a much larger 
picture than the single lens camera pre- 
viously used. Study of these photographs 
enabled topographic engineers to overprint 
the sites of enemy trenches and gun em- 
placements on existing base maps. These 
experiments had more bearing on later de- 
velopments than on the immediate mapping 
effort because there seemed little chance of 
improving the existing coverage of the West- 
ern Front with photomapping equipment 
and techniques then available. But the Chief 
Engineer, AEF, recognized the potential 
value of aerial mapping and collected much 
material for the guidance of future research. 

Soon after the Armistice, Bagley was 
placed in charge of a small Engineer de- 
tachment at Wright (then McCook) Field 
to work with the Air Service in applying 
aerial photography to military mapping. 
Although the Wright Field detachment sel- 
dom exceeded two officers, six enlisted men, 
and a few civilians, it gradually provided a 
nucleus of expert photogrammetrists. In the 
course of his experiments, Bagley developed 
a five-lens camera, the T-3A, which became 
the standard mapping camera of the thirties. 
The aerial photographs taken by this cam- 
era, or any other for that matter, convey 
only a relative idea of relief and of distances. 

With preliminary knowledge of distances 
between several points on the photograph, 
topographers could compute the remaining 
measurements so as to prepare a two-dimen- 
sional or planimetric map, but field surveys 
were still necessary to determine every ele- 
vation or contour line that would show up 
on a three-dimensional topographic map. 
To eliminate the production bottleneck en- 
tailed by survey operations, map makers 
required instruments for determining eleva- 
tions directly from the photograph. 1 

In 1936 1st Lt. Benjamin B. Talley of the 
Engineer detachment at Wright designed a 
simple stereoscopic plotting instrument for 
this purpose. By viewing overlapping aerial 
photographs through a stereoscope, topog- 
raphers could obtain an impression of the 

1 ( 1 ) Engr Bd Hist Study, Photomapping, pp. 1— 
9, 23-25, 28. (2) Historical Report of the Chief 
Engineer, Including All Operations of the Engineer 
Department: American Expeditionary Forces, 1917— 
1919, pp. 95-97. 

Unless otherwise noted this section and the sec- 
tion following are based upon correspondence in 
ERDL file, MP 205. 



terrain in relief from which they could 
sketch the lay of the land. Talley combined 
the stereoscope with measuring and drawing 
attachments. With this device and the aid 
of special mathematical tables, a topog- 
rapher could determine vertical distances 
fairly accurately. The new instrument, the 
stereocomparagraph, was small and port- 
able and could be carried into the field to 
make maps good enough for reconnaissance. 
It was not sufficiently refined for preparing 
the battle maps desired by the Field Artil- 
lery, however, unless a large number of 
points of elevation were known. 2 

More refined stereoscopic instruments 
had been developed abroad. By 1936 the 
Engineer detachment had studied a number 
of these instruments and had narrowed its 
choice to the aerocartograph and the mul- 
tiplex aeroprojector, both of which were 
made in Germany by Zeiss. The aerocarto- 
graph was slightly more accurate, but it was 
also more expensive, more difficult to oper- 
ate, and almost impossible to move about. 
The detachment chose the multiplex set, 
but even this weighed about 1,800 pounds 
and required shelter for operation. The mul- 
tiplex set consisted of a number of delicate 
instruments for measuring the spatial pro- 
jection of images of the landscape. During 
1936 and 1937 the Field Artillery tested 
topographic maps which the Engineer de- 
tachment prepared with the multiplex set. 
Although these maps depicted areas extend- 
ing from 1 2 to 20 miles into unsurveyed ter- 
ritory, they were almost as accurate as the 
Field Artillery desired. To eliminate reli- 
ance on foreign sources, the Engineer Board 
persuaded the Bausch and Lomb Optical 
Company, an American manufacturer of 
microscopes, lenses, and scientific instru- 
ments, to add the multiplex to its list of 
products. Working closely with the Engi- 

neer detachment, Bausch and Lomb im- 
proved the design, lenses, and lighting of 
the German model so as to produce sharper 
images of the landscape. By February 1939 
the first American multiplex had appeared. 
Multiplex sets were subsequently assigned 
to two of the three engineer mapping units, 
the army topographic battalion and the base 
topographic battalion. 3 

Production of the battle map was the 
army topographic battalion's main task. 
Tactical maps would be compiled as time 
allowed because at the outset of any con- 
flict in a theater where map coverage was 
scanty, it would be impossible for topo- 
graphic units to prepare both. Reproduc- 
tion of existing maps was a major task for 
all topographic echelons. The army battal- 
ion could reproduce large quantities of maps 
in dimensions up to 22x28 inches, but in 
case it could not meet demands within its 
area, it could call upon the base battalion 
for assistance. Further potential sources of 
map supply were the Engineer Reproduc- 
tion Plant at Washington, which was staffed 
by civilians under military administration 
and which had fairly elaborate lithographic 
equipment, and a number of federal agen- 
cies, such as the U.S. Geological Survey, 
which compiled original maps for various 
purposes, using modern photogrammetric 

1 (1) CE Sup Catalog, Pt. II, 1942. (2) TM 
5-240, Aerial Photography, 1 May 44. 

3 (1) Ann Rpts Engr Bd, 1935-39. (2) Special 
Rpt 1-205, Engr Det, 26 Feb 37, sub: Preparation 
of Fire Control Data Sheets, Ft, Bragg, N. C, 1936. 
Topo Br Engr Intel Div file, 061.1 A. (3) TM 5- 
244, Multiplex Mapping Equip, Jun 1943. (4) 
Engr Bd Rpt 599, 1 1 Dec 40, sub: Interim Rpt for 
the Period 1 Jul 35-1 Dec 40. (5) Capt. B. B. Tal- 
ley, "The Mass Production of Maps," The Military 
Engineer, XXXI (May-June 1939), 194, (6) Engr 
Bd Hist Study, Photomapping, pp. 5-6. 

The engineer base topographic battalion was at 
this time and until late 1943 the engineer topo- 
graphic battalion, GHQ. 




techniques. Lower echelons in the army 
would ordinarily be served by the corps 
topographic company, which had been 
formed when the shift from the square to 
the triangular division eliminated mapping 
from that organization. Like its predecessor, 
the mapping section of the engineer com- 
bat regiment, but on a much broader scale, 
the corps company had the job of repro- 
ducing existing maps and of preparing pho- 
tomaps and other types of map substitutes. 4 
Substitution of photomapping for time- 
consuming ground surveys offered great ad- 
vantages to all topographic units, but this 
change-over had its disadvantages also. The 
new mapping techniques placed the Corps 
of Engineers in a position of dependence 
upon the Air Corps. The Air Corps had 
photographic requirements of its own in 
preparing charts for strategic and tactical 
planning, for long distance navigation, and 
for plotting target areas. The Air Corps also 
had to fly reconnaissance missions for the 
Army. To the conflict of interests likely to 
arise from this multiplicity of tasks, there 
was added the fact that mapping photog- 
raphy called for a higher degree of skill and 
more complex aircraft than did charting 
photography or reconnaissance. "I doubt if 
there is any flying . . . that is more difficult 
than . . . high altitude mapping photog- 
raphy," declared Captain Talley. "It is 
more difficult than bombing because 95 per- 
cent of the time on a bombing mission the 
pilot is flying 'across country,' the other 
5 percent of the time he must fly very pre- 
cisely." 5 For mapping, these figures were 
reversed. Mapping required flights at alti- 
tudes of 20,000 feet. The Air Corps had to 
crowd in as many flights as possible when- 
ever weather permitted. Unless the pilot flew 
in parallel straight lines close enough for 

the photographic strips to overlap, there 
were either too many or too few prints. An 
excessive number of prints slowed down 
compilation, but too few left gaps in the 
map and necessitated reflight. The pilot 
had to maintain a uniform altitude and 
avoid tip and tilt of the plane to keep the 
photography in proper perspective. 

The relative crudeness in aircraft design 
and navigational equipment made these 
operations strenuous even in peacetime. At 
high altitudes photographic crews some- 
times fainted from lack of oxygen or suffered 
frostbite from cold. It was therefore tempt- 
ing to gloss over this work, losing sight of 
specifications, and consequently multiply- 
ing the complexities of preparing the final 
map. In 1937 the Engineers began to ex- 
press doubt that the Air Corps could do the 
work satisfactorily unless aircraft assigned 
to photographic missions were radically im- 
proved. The Chief of the Air Corps in turn 
expressed a desire for an exact statement of 
the Engineers' photographic requirements. 
Once specifications were set down in detail, 
the Air Corps could determine what per- 
sonnel, planes, cameras, and other equip- 
ment had to be provided. 6 

From Wright Field, Capt. Louis J. 
Rumaggi suggested that in many respects 
the specifications for photographic and for 
high altitude bombers were the same. But 
1st Lt. Richard R. Arnold who headed the 

4 (1) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 27 Jun 39, 
sub: Orgn and Equip for Corps Engr Map Unit, 
with 1st Ind, 19 Jul 39. 320.2, SP 286, Pt. 1. (2) 
Engr Bd Rpt 583, 27 Sep 39, sub: Corps Map 
Unit. (3) FM 5-5, Troops and Opns, 31 Jan 41. 

B Memo, Talley for 1st Lt Richard R. Arnold, 11 
Dec 39, sub: Cameras and Photo Airplanes. ERDL 
file, MP 205. 

8 ( 1 ) AAF FM 1-35, Aerial Photography, 3 Dec 
42. (2) Engr Bd Rpt 531, 10 Feb 38, sub: Rpt 
on Aerial Photos for Preparing Maps. (3) Engr 
Bd Hist Study, Photomapping, p. 92. 



mapping section at the Engineer Board 
questioned the feasibility of obtaining suit- 
able wartime photographic coverage with 
bombers. Not only were bombers unwieldy 
and exposed to enemy attack, but they 
would certainly be confined to their primary 
task. "In time of war, bombers will be re- 
quired for Air Corps bombing missions and 
will not be available for photography when 
they are needed. The largest number of 
photographic mapping missions will prob- 
ably be required immediately following the 
outbreak of hostilities. It is during this time 
also that there will be the greatest number 
of bombing missions to destroy enemy fac- 
tories and depots. Mapping missions will 
undoubtedly suffer." 7 In the report which 
he prepared for the Engineer Board in re- 
sponse to the inquiry from the Chief of the 
Air Corps, Arnold set forth the following 
characteristics as essential for planes as- 
signed to mapping photography: 

a. A minimum service ceiling of 30,000 feet 
or more 

b. A size suitable and economical for its 

c. A maximum of visibility 

d. Six hours endurance 

c. A cruising speed of 200 m. p. h. 

f. A gyro-pilot and provision for heating 
and supercharging the cabin 

g. Mounting for two T-3A [five-lens] 
cameras in tandem. s 

Arnold took this opportunity to empha- 
size the advisability of close co-operation 
between the Corps of Engineers and the Air 
Corps, urging the Air Corps to activate a 
photographic mapping squadron to work 
with the base engineer topographic battal- 
ion and to appoint a liaison officer to the 
Engineer Board. The officer, Maj. Charles 
Y. Banfill, arrived soon after Arnold's report 
was forwarded to the Air Corps in March 

1938. The following September, Kingman 
reopened the subject of the special plane 
and the Air Corps indicated that lack of 
funds was preventing its development. In 
January 1939 this obstacle was seemingly 
removed when the Air Corps received au- 
thority to include in its budget a sum for 
this purpose. These signs of activity on the 
part of the Air Corps were encouraging to 
the Engineers. 9 

The Air Force-Engineer Team 

The Field Artillery, having followed Air 
Corps-Engineer experiments with a special 
interest because its requirements for accu- 
racy in maps exceeded those of the other 
arms, concluded that the application of 
aerial photography to mapping was sound. 
It was clear, the Chief of the Field Artillery 
informed the Chief of Engineers in Novem- 
ber 1937, that the basic problems had been 
solved. Certain "refinements" — improve- 
ments in quality and quantity — still had to 
be achieved, but these were of less immedi- 
ate concern to him than the clarification 
of responsibilities between the Corps of 
Engineers and the Air Corps. Although the 
Engineers were inclined to think that their 
relationship to the Air Corps was sufficiently 
clear and that co-operative efforts with that 
arm were producing good results, Kingman, 

7 Engr Bd Rpt cited |n, 6 | (2). 

8 Ibid. 

" (1) Ibid. (2) Engr Bd Hist Study, Photomap- 
ping, pp. 92, 94. (3) Ltr, ACofEngrs (Kingman) 
to CofAC, 14 Sep 38, sub: Aerial Photos for Prepa- 
ration of Mil Maps, with 1st Ind, 7 Oct 38, 3d Ind, 
CofAC to CofEngrs, 6 Dec 38, and 5th Ind, TAG to 
CofAC and CofEngrs, 5 Jan 39. G-2 file, 183-Z- 
382. (4) Incl, n.d., with Memo, ACofS G-3 for 
G-2 et al., 26 Apr 40, sub: 1st Photo Squad. AG 
file, 320.2 (3-25-40). 



at the Field Artillery's insistence, forwarded 
copies of the file to G-2 in March 1938. 10 
The correspondence came to Lt. Col. Or- 
lando Ward, himself an artillery officer, for 
handling. On 6 July, after getting the com- 
ment of various interested parties, Ward 
laid his conclusions before the Chief of Staff. 
He called attention to the inadequacy of 
existing coverage of the United States and 
to the noteworthy progress in the field of 
photomapping, and then advanced a new 
and radical principle. In the event of war, 
he declared, "the Army should be prepared 
to map as it moves." Following a military 
mapping service test to be held in the sum- 
mer of 1939, Army regulations and field 
manuals would be revised along these lines, 
giving aerial photography the prominence 
it had earned and denning the respective 
duties of Air Corps and Engineers in peace 
and war. 11 

The camera used in this test was the five- 
lens model T-3A which had been devel- 
oped by Bagley at Wright Field. When two 
T-3A's were placed side by side they pro- 
duced a composite photograph that cov- 
ered an area of about 400 square miles. 
With this camera, the Air Corps' 91st Ob- 
servation Squadron photographed an area 
of 5,800 square miles in southern Califor- 
nia between 10 March and 15 May 1939. 
This preliminary operation lasted over two 
months because the weather was often un- 
favorable. In the scheme of production, the 
29th Engineer Topographic Battalion 
(Army) first prepared planimctric sheets 
which were issued as provisional maps. 
Then multiplex operators determined ele- 
vations and filled in contours by stereocom- 
paragraph. For an extension of 42 miles 
beyond surveyed territory, the average 
errors amounted to 34 feet in elevation and 
81 yards in horizontal position. Although 

these maps were less accurate than those 
prepared on previous tests, they covered 
much greater distances. Furthermore, once 
photography was in hand, the rate of pro- 
duction was high. Starting on the fifteenth 
day after delivery of photographs, the bat- 
talion prepared 1 00 square miles of contour 
maps a day. 12 

On the whole the results of the military 
mapping test were deemed favorable. Bas- 
ing his conclusion on reports from lower 
echelons, Maj. Gen. Albert J. Bowley, a 
former artillery officer commanding the 
Ninth Corps Area, commented that the 
mapping at this test was acceptable both as 
to speed and quality and recommended 
adoption of the methods and equipment 
used by the 29th Engineers. In this connec- 
tion, Maj. Russel McK. Herrington of the 
29th Engineers stated that the method of 
map compilation from multi-lens photog- 
raphy was faster than any other so far dis- 
covered, and Col, W. Goff Caples, Engi- 
neer, Ninth Corps Area, remarked that 
"accuracy, while desirable always, is en- 
tirely secondary to speed in the choice of 
equipment and methods for making the 
Battle Map." 13 

While equally enthusiastic about the pos- 
sibilities of photomapping, a number of in- 
dividuals saw room for improvement, par- 
ticularly in equipment. From the west coast, 
Air Corps and Engineer officers telegraphed 

10 Ltr, G of Fid Arty to CofEngrs, 24 Nov 37, sub: 
Mil Mapping, with 1st Ind, 31 Jan 38, 2d Ind, 
CofAG to CofEngrs. 10 Mar 38, and 3d Ind, ACof 
Engrs (Kingman) to TAG, 16 Mar 38. G-2 file, 

" Memo, ACofS G-2 (initialed OW) for CofS, 
6 Jul 38, sub: Mil Mapping. G-2 file, 061.01. 

12 Engr Bd Rpt 589, 17 Jan 40, sub: Rpt on Mil 
Map Sv Test, 1939. 

" Rpt, Engr Ninth Corps Area to CG Ninth 
Corps Area, 30 Sep 39, sub: Mil Map Sv Test, 10 
Apr to 30 Jun 39. ERDL file, MP 205. 



to the War Department the urgent necessity 
for better aircraft. Kingman, commenting 
on this demand, expressed understanding 
of the many problems facing the Air Corps 
and a willingness to accept the Air Corps' 
assurance that the simple, inexpensive 
plane currently furnished, the Beechcraft 
F-2, was merely a step in the right direc- 
tion, not the last word in design. Kingman 
nevertheless took the opportunity to list 
once more the special features that an air- 
plane destined for photographic work 
should have. In further comment to G-2 
the Engineers stressed the inherent differ- 
ences between mapping photography and 
that which the Air Corps was required to 
make for intelligence purposes. In order to 
obtain pictures of extensive areas rapidly 
and at a scale consistent with accurate de- 
lineation of terrain, mapping photography 
had to be accomplished at high altitudes 
with cameras of wide coverage. Intelligence 
photographs, by contrast, had to be ob- 
tained at relatively low altitudes in order to 
acquire detailed information about the 
enemy's position and installations. Such 
photographs could be secured by semiskilled 
personnel operating from simple observa- 
tion planes. Mapping photography de- 
manded not only special planes but also 
special air force units to perform this work 
to the exclusion of all other duties. 14 

Despite the generally favorable reaction 
of the Field Artillery, Capt. Frederick J. 
Dau, in command of the Engineer detach- 
ment, expressed doubt that the multi-lens 
photography employed in the test permitted 
compilation of sufficiently accurate maps. 
The T-3A camera had originally been de- 
signed for making planimetric maps, and, 
owing to the presence of obliques which 
surrounded the small center photographs, 
was not altogether adaptable to multiplex 

work. Oblique multiplex projectors pro- 
duced errors of ten times the amount speci- 
fied for projectors used in connection with 
vertical photography. Not only was much 
of the composite unfit for multiplex map- 
ping, but the loss of detail away from the 
center also reduced its value as a photomap. 
Dau recommended replacing the T-3A 
camera with a new single-lens wide-angle 
camera which the Air Corps and the Corps 
of Engineers were jointly developing. Like 
many other valuable mapping instruments, 
the camera with wide-angle lens had been 
introduced in Germany by the Zeiss firm. 
In 1936, upon the recommendation of a 
German scientist employed by the Engineer 
detachment, the Air Corps had purchased a 
Zeiss wide-angle camera. Two years later 
the Air Corps began to procure wide-angle 
lenses from Bausch and Lomb and awarded 
a contract for the camera bodies to the Fair- 
child Aviation Corporation. This camera, 
known as the T-5, was designed to regis- 
ter tilt variations, altitude, and other data 
on the film to facilitate compilation of the 
map. The Engineer detachment concur- 
rently adapted the multiplex for use with 
wide-angle photography. Bausch and Lomb 
again co-operated in this effort, and in De- 
cember 1938 the Corps of Engineers or- 
dered fifteen experimental wide-angle pro- 
jectors from the firm. 10 

14 (1) Telg, Lt Col Charles B. Oldfield to TAG, 
10 Jun 39, with 2d Ind, CofAC to CofEngrs, 22 
Jun 39, and 3d Ind, ACofEngrs to TAG, 6 Jul 39. 
Topo Br file, SP 205, 207, 209. (2) Memo, Col 
James M. Churchill, Actg ACofS G-2, for CofS, 
5 Apr 40, sub: Conversion of Three Attack Bomb- 
ers to Photo Airplanes. G-2 file, 183-Z-382. 

15 (1 ) 1st Ind, 8 Sep 39, on Ltr, C of Dev Br to 
CO Engr Det, 1 Sep 39, sub: Aerial Photo Map 
Equip. 061. 1A, SP 205, Pt. 2. (2) Ann Rpt OCE, 
1936. (3) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 19 Mar 
42, sub: T-5 Cameras. 061.1, SP 205 E, Pt. 1. 
(4) Engr Bd Rpt 66&, 10 Apr 42, sub: Wide Angle 
Map Equip. 



The T— 5 camera took standard 9 l / 2 -inch 
film which could be printed more rapidly 
than the several 6-inch films that made up 
the multi-lens composite. Its photograph 
covered an area more than twice as large as 
the vertical part of the composite and thus 
eliminated the excessively complicated rec- 
tifications that accompanied use of oblique 
photographs. A wide-angle photograph 
could serve directly as a map substitute. All 
this would save time for engineer topog- 
raphers and increase accuracy. The T-5 
camera also seemed preferable to the Air 
Corps because it was lighter and more com- 
pact than the T— 3A and would thus be 
easier to install in an airplane. But the T-5, 
if employed singly to take vertical pictures 
as the Corps of Engineers desired, would 
make the Air Corps' task more difficult. 
With the T-3A camera mounted in tan- 
dem, flyers could space their courses about 
eight miles apart. With the T-5 camera 
they had to make twice as many runs. 
Furthermore, as Major Herrington pointed 
out, the T-3A had a great advantage over 
the wide-angle equipment, namely, it was 
already in production, whereas develop- 
ment of the T-5 had progressed only to an 
imperfect pilot model. When advantages 
were weighed against disadvantages, how- 
ever, the T-5 camera seemed vastly superior. 
In March 1 940, at a conference called by the 
Corps of Engineers, representatives of the 
General Staff, Air Corps, and Field Artil- 
lery agreed to retain the older type of map- 
ping equipment only as a stopgap until the 
wide-angle camera and plotting accessories 
became generally available. 16 

By this time revision of the Army regula- 
tion and field manual was well on its way 
toward completion. Ward, now secretary of 
the General Staff, continued to display keen 
interest in the project, although its details 

had been turned over to Capt. Howard V. 
Canan, an Engineer officer who had taken 
Ward's place in G-2. Before Canan were 
the glowing reports of the military mapping 
test. Unchallenged was Ward's "map as you 
move" dictum. Unquestioned was the view 
that batde maps were the most universally 
desirable means of presenting terrain in- 
formation. Unmentioned was the interfer- 
ence to be expected from hostile aircraft. 
All that was lacking, it seemed, were special 
photographic planes manned by expert 
crews. To Canan's dismay, G-3, which was 
at this time headed by an Air Corps officer, 
soon made clear its intention of permitting 
this lack indefinitely, if not permanently. 

To attain speed in the production of air- 
craft, G-3 insisted, the number of types of 
planes must be held to a minimum. Map- 
ping photography was a natural adjunct of 
Army reconnaissance, G— 3 maintained. Re- 
connaissance crews, taking intelligence 
photographs at low altitudes in normal 
weather, would be on hand for mapping 
photography on the few days when clouds 
were not present at high altitudes. Photo- 
graphic missions were no more difficult than 
bombing missions. Reconnaissance units 
could be taught to produce the high quality 
of photography desired. 17 

18 ( 1 ) IncI, Dau for C of Photo Lab AC Mat Div, 
17 Oct 40, with Monthly Rpt Engr Det. ERDL file, 
319.1. (2) Ltr, Herrington to Capt F. Z. Pirkey, 
C of Dev Br, 25 Aug 39. 061.1 A, SP 205, Pt. 2. (3) 
Proceedings and Transactions Mil Map Conf, 4—7 
Mar 40. ERDL file, Tech Intel Br. (4) Summary 
Mil Map Conf, 4-7 Mar 40. 061, Pt. 1. 

17 (1) Memo, Churchill, Actg ACofS G-2 (in- 
itialed HVC), for CofS, 5 Apr 40, sub: Conversion 
of Three Attack Bombers to Photo Airplanes, with 
Inch. G-2 file, 183-Z-382. (2) Memo, Brig Gen 
Frank M. Andrews, ACofS G-3, for ACofS G-2, 
2 1 May 40, sub : Conversion of Three Attack Bomb- 
ers to Photo Airplanes. Same file. (3) Ltr, Canan 
to C of EHD, 7 Dec 55. 



Canan revised his drafts only slightly to 
conform to G-3's wishes. The need for the 
manual and for consolidating gains thus 
far obtained dictated an early publication 
even though it was far from perfect. If ex- 
perience demonstrated, as Canan believed it 
would, that the Army's requirements could 
not be filled as easily as G-3 supposed, the 
subject of special equipment and crews 
could then be reopened. As finally published 
in May 1940 the Army regulation and the 
field manual on maps and mapping con- 
tinued the "map as you move" doctrine 
pending more extensive tests. The Air Corps 
and the Corps of Engineers were the Army's 
"mapping team," the Air Corps to furnish, 
through reconnaissance units, specially 
trained personnel operating from planes of 
the light bombardment type. Systematic 
collection, collation, and compilation of 
maps and basic map data were to start at or 
before the outbreak of hostilities, making 
possible immediate quantity production of 
small-scale strategic maps. Field com- 
manders could expect only crude maps and 
map substitutes at first, but within ten days 
to two weeks they should receive accurate 
battle maps of areas of concentrated fight- 
ing. Full coverage of the front by battle 
maps would eventually be attained if the 
tactical situation stabilized. 18 

As set up in 1940 the Engineers' corps 
topographic company was equipped to 
move with the army. For this unit the Engi- 
neer Board had developed a mobile map- 
ping plant installed in a 2-ton trailer drawn 
by a small truck. Since the unit's main job 
was the reproduction of maps, its main piece 
of equipment was a power-driven multilith 
press with a 17xl9-inch printing area that 
could turn out several thousand maps an 
hour. For making copies of sketches, trac- 
ings, and drawings, there was a 9x1 3-inch 

hand-operated multilith, a 14x1 8-inch fluid 
duplicator, and a 24x30-inch black and 
white reproduction set. A modest photo- 
graphic outfit could produce 7x9-inch 
photomaps from aerial negatives. A sepa- 
rate truck carried an electric generator to 
run the offset press and additional litho- 
graphic, drafting, and surveying equip- 
ment. 19 

Theoretically, the army topographic bat- 
talion, whose principal job was to compile 
battle maps, would also move with the army 
in the field. As set up in early 1940 this 
was almost physically impossible because the 
multiplex and most of the unit's other equip- 
ment had to be operated in permanent 
structures. To pack, crate, and transport 
its bulky, delicate impedimenta required 
months of preparation. In June 1940 OCE 
directed the Engineer Board to plan a mo- 
bile map reproduction train for the battal- 
ion, authorizing $125,000 for constructing 
the pilot model. During the summer the 
board and OCE bought operating equip- 
ment and ordered eight 12-ton trailers to 
arrange a completely mobile printing shop 
with air conditioning, heating, and plumb- 
ing. These trailers contained three 22x29- 
inch offset presses, a 24x3 0-inch copy cam- 
era, and other printing and photographic 
facilities, including a darkroom, arc lamps, 
sinks, shelves, racks, and tables. In addition 
there were eleven cargo trucks for carrying 
electric generators, water purification units, 

18 ( 1 ) Memo, ACofS G-2 for CofS, 6 Jul 38, sub: 
Mil Mapping. G-2 file, 229-1. (2) AR 300-15, 7 
May 40; cf. AR 100-15, 2 Jul 27. (3) FM 30-20, 
Mil Intel, Mil Maps, 1940. (4) Ltr, Canan to G of 
EHD, 7 Apr 56. 

16 (1) Engr Bd Rpt 583, 27 Sep 39, sub: Corps 
Map Unit. (2) 1st Lt. R. R. Arnold, "Map Repro- 
duction Equipment for Combat Engineers," The 
Military Engineer, XXX (March-April, 1938), 97- 
100. (3) Engr Bd Rpt 510, 6 Oct 37, sub: Map 
Reproduction Equip Status Rpt, 



maintenance equipment, and other supplies. 
A far more ambitious undertaking than the 
corps mobile reproduction plant, the first 
mobile reproduction train was not com- 
pletely assembled until 1941, by which time 
the functions hitherto assigned the unit were 
being called into question. Both the corps' 
plant and the battalion's train were to un- 
dergo many changes after being put to the 
test in training and maneuvers. 20 

At Kingman's suggestion, Arnold inves- 
tigated the Air Corps' portable copying 
camera in December 1939 but found it un- 
satisfactory. A month later Arnold discov- 
ered a suitable commercial model which 
could be used to make photographs up to 
24x24 inches. In order to utilize this camera 
in the field, the board first installed it in a 
special darkroom trailer. With the new 
equipment the corps company could make 
map substitutes itself without having to send 
aerial negatives and lithographic plates back 
to a permanent installation for processing. 
The Engineer Board also eliminated the 
9xl3-inch offset press and the 14xl8-inch 
fluid duplicator from the corps' plant be- 
cause they were too small for overprinting 
standard map sheets. After the manufac- 
turer of the fluid duplicator expressed un- 
willingness to experiment with a larger 
model, the board in June 1940 procured a 
commercial gelatin roll duplicator which 
could overprint the 22x29-inch battle map. 
Although normally this machine operated 
satisfactorily, Arnold felt some misgivings 
about it because the prints tended to fade 
and in hot weather the roll gummed up. But 
with both the black and white set and the 
gelatin roll duplicator, the company's mo- 
bile plant was able to handle any duplicat- 
ing work for the corps. Needed was an 
improvement in equipment for the produc- 
tion of photomaps. 21 

Because contact prints were clearer and 
showed more detail than lithographic copies 
of aerial photographs, the Engineer Board 
sponsored the development of a mobile con- 
tact printer that would operate at greater 
speed than commercial models, but the de- 
signer failed to achieve the desired combina- 
tion of efficiency and lightness. The 
disappointment felt when the automatic 
contact printer turned out to be unsuitable 
was mitigated by the fact that the Engineer 
Reproduction Plant was making great im- 
provements in the quality of lithographic re- 
production. Experts at the plant could pre- 
serve much detail by means of the halftone 
process which involved the use of fine glass 
screens. The main objection to adopting 
these screens for field units was their cost, 
scarcity, and fragility. The national output 
was about one screen every three weeks. 
After enlisting the co-operation of the East- 
man Kodak Company, the plant succeeded 

30 ( 1 ) Memo, ACofEngrs for ACofS G-3, Jan 40, 
sub: Participation of 30th Engrs in the Intensive 
Tng Maneuvers. 354.2, Pt. 6. (2) Summary Mil 
Map Conf, 4-7 Mar 40. 061, Pt. 1. (3) Ltr, ExO 
OGE to President Engr Bd, 5 Jun 40, sub: SP 319, 
Mobile Map Reproduction Train, Topo Bn, with 
2d Ind, Sup Sec to Engr Bd, 3 Jul 40. Rqmts Br 
file, Engr Bd Misc Corresp. (4) Ann Rpt Engr Bd, 

n ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Dev Br to Arnold, 29 Nov 39, sub : 
Copying Camera, Air Corps. 061. 1A, SP 205, Pt. 
3. (2) 2d Ind, ExO OCE for C of Sup Sec, 1 Dec 
39. ERDL file, 413.52, MP 210 A. (3) Ltr, Arnold 
to Rutherford Machine Co., 12 Jan 40. ERDL file, 
413.52. (4) 1st Ind, CO 30th Engrs to CofEngrs, 
18 Oct 40, on Ltr, C of Sup Sec to CO 30th Engr 
Bn, 19 Sep 40, sub: Copying Camera. 320.2, SP 
210 A, Pt. 1. (5) Ltr, C of Sup Sec to CofEngrs, 16 
Sep 40, sub: Rpt on Second Army Maneuvers. 
354.2, Pt. 7A. (6) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 
29 Jun 40, sub: Gelatin Roll Duplicators. 320.2, 
SP 286, Pt. 1. (7) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 
11 Oct 40, sub: Duplicator Equip. 413.52, SP 210, 
Pt. 1. (8) Memo, Asst ExO Engr Bd for C of Dev 
Br, 4 Dec 40. Same file. (9) Engr Bd Rpt 510, 6 
Oct 37, sub: Map Reproduction Equip. 



in making acetate film contact screens at 
low cost and in ever-increasing quantities. 22 
But even with this new process topo- 
graphic companies could not produce ac- 
ceptable photomaps. To exploit halftone 
lithography they needed presses of greater 
precision than the relatively simple multilith 
which had been the only commercial model 
light enough to install in the corps' mobile 
trailer. In the summer of 1941 the Harris- 
Seybold-Potter Company adapted a 17x22- 
inch press especially for this purpose, and in 
the fall delivered a revised model for print- 
ing a 20x22-inch sheet. With aluminum in- 
stead of iron castings, the Harris press 
weighed only 2,268 pounds — just half as 
much as commercial presses designed for 
work of comparable quality. Army and base 
topographic battalions, of course, also bene- 
fited from the improvements in lithographic 
techniques. 23 

Divergent Opinions on the Team and 
Modification of Doctrine 

In improving topographic equipment the 
Engineers were trying to meet the challenge 
of "map as you move" and to assume a po- 
sition of responsibility as a member of the 
mapping team. But the fact remained that 
the Engineers' task was easier than that of 
the Air Corps. Presses were simpler to re- 
design and to produce than were planes. 
During the months when the United States 
moved ever closer toward global conflict, 
there arose a gnawing doubt whether the 
Air Corps could carry out its part of the 
job or whether the Engineers could pro- 
duce maps fast enough to keep up with the 
modern army. 

At first the pressure remained upon the 
Air Corps to equip and organize itself in 
conformity with stated doctrine. By mid- 

summer 1940 the Engineers were hopeful 
that the case for separate mapping photog- 
raphy units would be won, this time on the 
Air Corps' own initiative. On 2 July, the 
Air Corps convened a board of officers 
under the chairmanship of Major Banfill, 
its liaison at the Engineer Board, to develop 
a comprehensive program for aerial pho- 
tography to meet the need for Air Corps 
charts as well as Army maps. After hearing 
witnesses from Infantry, Armor, Field Ar- 
tillery, and Cavalry, from G-2, from OCE, 
and from the Air Corps, Banfill's board re- 
ported in favor of special organizations. 
Photographic squadrons should be the sole 
units charged with mapping photography 
and they should obtain this photography to 
the exclusion of all other types. Using four 
areas in the Western Hemisphere which had 
been indicated by the General Staff as pos- 
sible theaters of operations, the Air Corps 
board recommended the organization of 
five photographic squadrons, three to be 
activated at once. On 18 September 1940, 
the Chief of the Air Corps approved these 
recommendations "in principle," and di- 
rected his staff to lay plans for putting them 
into effect. 24 

22 (1) ERDL file, MP 304. (2) Telg, Arnold to 
Levy Camera Co., 17 Feb 40. ERDL file, MP 210 A. 
(3) Telg, Levy Camera Co. to Engr Bd, 19 Feb 40. 
Same file. 

23 ( 1 ) Memo, C of Intel Sec for Kingman, 1 Jul 
41, sub: Equip for Engr Cos (Topo) (Corps). 
Topo Br. Engr Intel Div file, SP 210. (2) 2d Ind. 
ExO OCE to TAG, 18 Aug 41, on Ltr, ExO Office 
of C of Fid Arty to TAG, 6 Aug 41, sub: Reproduc- 
tion and Distr of Air Photos. 061.02, Pt. 3. (3) Ltr, 
Arnold to Capt W. K. Wilson, Jr., C&GS Sch, 1 Jul 
41. ERDL file, MP 304. 

21 ( 1 ) Proceedings of Bd of Off s Con%'ened at 
Washington, D. C, 2 Jul 40, for Purpose of Study- 
ing and Making Recommendations re Photo 
Problems. 320.2, Air Corps, Pt. 2. (2) 4th Ind, 
Office of CofAC to TAG, 30 Sep 40, on Ltr, ACof- 
Engrs (Kingman) to TAG, 24 Jun 40, sub: Air 
Corps Units for Map Photo. Same file. 



But winter came and went without action, 
and G-2, prodded by the Engineers, 
showed signs of impatience. Concern cen- 
tered primarily around the lack of suitable 
aircraft and trained photographers, but 
there were other matters that needed set- 
tling. The Engineers were beginning to shy 
away from the doctrine that the Army must 
map as it moved, at least if this were inter- 
preted as starting from scratch and supply- 
ing large-scale maps or even photomaps. An 
army topographic battalion could supply 
battle maps covering approximately 100 
square miles per day or a total of 2,500 
square miles about three weeks after receipt 
of photography. Was this rate of produc- 
tion consistent with the increased mobility 
of the new Army? The Germans had their 
maps ready before launching the blitzkrieg. 
Had it not been so prepared, the German 
Sixth Army would have required an average 
of 750 miles of new mapping daily during 
the period from May 10 to May 26. Did the 
American Army really need a map on so 
large a scale as 1 : 20,000 at the high degree 
of accuracy specified? Because of the short 
time the photomap had been in existence it 
could not yet be fully accepted as a substi- 
tute for the battle map, but the speed with 
which it could be produced (after the de- 
livery of photographs) argued strongly for 
assigning its preparation to army topo- 
graphic battalions and base plants as well 
as to corps topographic companies. It might 
be desirable to relax the standards of ac- 
curacy specified for photomaps, relegate the 
preparation of the battle map to the base 
battalion and base plants, and remove the 
bulky multiplex equipment from the army 
topographic battalion, thus increasing the 
mobility of the latter organization and free- 
ing it to concentrate upon photomap work. 
Would it not be desirable also to lower the 

standards of training now established for the 
army topographic battalion? It seemed un- 
necessary to place so much stress upon re- 
finements and appearance. 25 

Banfill, in G-2 at this time, prepared a 
study which the Engineers' questions had 
touched off, and he discountenanced any 
relaxation of standards. The mobility of the 
new Army, ran his major premise, had not 
only multiplied the area of map coverage 
but had placed a greater premium on ac- 
curacy. Because it preserved so much de- 
tail, the scale 3:20,000 was most "gen- 
erally satisfactory." In order to serve all 
military purposes, Field Artillery standards 
would be adhered to. While conceding the 
impossibility of attaining such accuracy in 
concert with the Army's movement, Ban- 
fill stressed the necessity for compiling large- 
scale maps or photomaps of critical areas. 
Neither the Air Corps nor the Corps of 
Engineers was prepared to handle this job, 
Banfill asserted, concluding gloomily that 
"the wartime Engineer-Air Corps mapping 
team contemplated by existing regulations 
is substantially nonexistent." 2b 

At the end of May 1941, the Air Corps 
and the Corps of Engineers were directed 
to get together to devise a system of team- 
work within the rules of the game as laid 
down by G-2. The rules were strict, stricter 
indeed than those established by Army regu- 
lation and field manual. Special Air Corps 
units must cover the entire theater of opera- 
tions by aerial photography before the entry 
of ground troops. Plans would center on 
production and distribution of maps and 
photomaps at scale 1 : 20,000. Every topo- 

23 Memo, Actg CofEngrs (Kingman) for ACofS 
G-2, 11 Mar 41, sub: Mil Mapping Orgn and Pro- 
cedure. G-2 file, 061.01. 

-"Memo, Actg AGofS for G-2 GofS, 18 Apr 41, 
sub: Maps and Terrain Intel in TofOpns. G-2 file, 



graphic unit capable of preparing battle 
maps would be kept on this type of work 
and efforts would be made to increase the 
output. The Corps of Engineers must fur- 
nish enough topographic troops to guaran- 
tee continuous production of photomaps 
at a rate of 10,000 square miles a day. 27 

Two weeks before issuing these instruc- 
tions the War Department announced the 
imminent activation of the Air Corps' 1st 
Photographic Group, describing it as "a 
unit of special purpose aviation, trained and 
equipped for combat aerial photographic 
operations." Although less skillful work was 
not necessarily excluded from its duties, the 
1st Photographic Group was designed pri- 
marily for mapping photography and for 
such other aerial photography as was be- 
yond the capability of observation and re- 
connaissance squadrons. 28 Just how much 
of the unit's work power was to be at the 
disposal of the Engineers and how much re- 
tained by the Air Corps for its own badly 
needed charting photography was as yet un- 
determined. In commenting on the War De- 
partment's mapping directive the Air Corps 
noted that "part of this Group will 
be equipped and trained as the Air Corps 
member of the Engineer-Air Corps Map- 
ping Team." 29 

In further comment on the directive, the 
Air Corps joined the Engineers in question- 
ing the sanctity that had been bestowed 
upon the scale 1 : 20,000. Also known to 
G-2 was the British opinion, based upon ac- 
tion in France and North Africa, that a 
scale 1 : 1 00,000 was about right in a mobile 
situation. Against these doubts stood the 
custom of World War I and the apparent 
blessing of G-3 and the War Plans Division, 
although just what WPD's concurrence 
meant in this instance is a matter for con- 
jecture. Less than three months after Brig. 

Gen. Harry J. Malony approved the direc- 
tive as chief of WPD's Plans Group, there- 
by giving his approval to the widest possible 
distribution of large-scale maps and map 
substitutes, he joined the ranks of the skep- 
tical as Deputy Chief, Army General Head- 
quarters. Maps of scale 1 : 20,000 were not 
to be preferred for all troops in all situa- 
tions, Malony asserted from GHQ. They 
were "highly desirable" for infantry and 
artillery on the defensive but not for a rap- 
idly moving force. 30 

Agreeing that battle maps were of lim- 
ited use in mobile warfare, Engineer and 
Air Forces representatives questioned yet 
other policies that they were supposed to use 
as a basis for teamwork. If the General Staff 
had areas other than the United States or 
its possessions in mind, it had better dis- 
card the idea that an entire theater of op- 
erations could be photographed before the 
entry of ground troops. Foreign countries, 
even friendly ones, seldom permitted such 
activities in peacetime. Once war broke 
out, the weather and the enemy could be 
counted upon to prevent any such sys- 
tematic photography. To supply photomaps 
at the rate of 10,000 square miles per day, 
as the General Staff envisaged, was out of 
the question. The entire plan to compile, re- 
produce, and distribute maps and map sub- 
stitutes on such a large scale was completely 
uncalled-for anyway. Coverage must be 
confined to areas of critical tactical impor- 
tance. A less ambitious program was sug- 
gested. During peacetime, the War Depart- 

27 Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs and CofAC, 29 May 41, 
sub: Maps and Terrain Intel in TofOpns. 061 (S). 

26 Ltr, TAG to CofAC, 15 May 41, sub: Consti- 
tution of the 1st Photo Group, Air Corps. 320.2, 
Air Corps, Pt. 2. 

"Memo, ACofAC for Secy WDGS, 16 May 41, 
sub: Gen Staff Memo, Maps and Terrain Intel in 
TofOpns. G-2 file, 061.01. 

30 (1) Ibid. (2) G-2 file, 061.01. 



ment should concentrate upon obtaining 
photography for the preparation of aero- 
nautical charts and maps needed for defense 
of the Western Hemisphere. To this end all 
the mapping facilities of the federal govern- 
ment, both civil and military, should be 
placed under the control of a director of 
surveys. In wartime and for peacetime 
training the preparation of all battle maps 
would be relegated to base topographic bat- 
talions, photography to be supplied by spe- 
cial photographic squadrons. Army top- 
ographic battalions and corps companies 
would concentrate upon map revision and 
the preparation of photomaps and provi- 
sional maps, photography to be furnished 
by observation and reconnaissance aviation. 
The proposed reply to the General Staff 
gave unmistakable evidence of major con- 
cessions to the Air Forces' point of view. 
The phrase "map as you move" might never 
have existed. Reconnaissance and observa- 
tion aviation was deemed acceptable for 
furnishing photography to field mapping 
units. 31 

The joint recommendations, ready in 
draft in late September 1941, were still in 
the office of the chief of the AAF awaiting 
final approval when the attack on Pearl 
Harbor occurred. Lt. Col. Herbert B. 
Loper, chief of OCE's Intelligence Branch, 
attributed this inaction to the fact that Air 
Forces officers who participated in the 
study "carry no weight." 32 The AAF was 
to oppose steadfastly the establishment of 
any additional authority such as the pro- 
posed director of surveys. 33 

The October-November 1941 maneuvers 
tended to bear out the general tenor of the 
conclusions arrived at by Air Forces and 
Engineer representatives in September and 
to reveal as well a good deal about the com- 
mon attitude toward maps. Following the 

decision to relegate precise mapping to base 
topographic battalions, the Engineers 
organized a light topographic battalion of 
about 400 men for assignment to the field 
army organization. In line with its simpli- 
fied duties in preparing photomaps and tac- 
tical maps and revising existing maps, the 
new unit carried the portable stereocom- 
paragraph instead of the bulky, delicate 
multiplex. During the summer the 30th 
Engineers, the Engineer Reproduction 
Plant, and civilian lithographic firms pre- 
pared the initial supply of maps for the 
maneuvers. Major Rumaggi, commanding 
the light topographic battalion, discovered 
during the first month of operations that 
distributing millions of maps in the field 
was an overwhelming job. Because the bat- 
talion had to stock tons of maps, it needed 
a permanent structure from which to make 
the distribution. For close co-ordination 
with Air Forces photographic units, the best 
location was near an airfield. Under these 
circumstances, the battalion could not eco- 
nomically accompany every minor move- 
ment of army headquarters. The excessive 
length of the reproduction trailers made 
them difficult to drive and to conceal from 
enemy observation. The Engineer Board 
therefore decided to substitute van-type 
trucks that were easier to handle and to 
conceal. In November, after lending thirty 
trucks to other outfits, the battalion settled 
down at Fort Bragg and compiled and re- 
produced large quantities of new photo- 
maps which covered about one fourth of the 

"(1) Memo, CofEngrs for CofS, 23 Sep 41, 
sub: Maps and Terrain Intel in TofOpns. 061 (S). 
(2) Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs and CofAC, 19 Jun 41, 
sub: Obsvn Avn. AG file, 320.2 (4-8-41). 

32 Memo, C of Intel Br OCE for Reybold, 15 Dec 
41, sub: Joint E ngr-AF Tech Comm. 061, Pt. 2. 

31 See below, pp. |45 1 ,1^53^5471 



maneuver area. When other duties diverted 
from 10 to 25 percent of its personnel from 
technical work, Rumaggi advocated an in- 
crease in the strength of the unit. The T/O 
which became effective the following April 
raised the army topographic battalion to 
508 enlisted men. 34 

Loper meanwhile analyzed maneuver ex- 
periences. The reproduction done by topo- 
graphic units had been of unusually high 
quality, but the units had been denied op- 
portunities to perform photogrammetric 
work for lack of aerial photography. Loper 
concluded that aviation squadrons organi- 
cally assigned to army and army corps were 
inadequately trained and equipped to fur- 
nish this photography even if they were un- 
opposed by enemy forces. Because troops 
had received immense quantities of maps at 
the start, they made few additional demands 
during the course of the exercises. The Engi- 
neer Reproduction Plant, base battalions, 
and commercial lithographic firms supplied 
the Third Army alone with over 600 differ- 
ent map sheets, comprising about 600 tons 
of maps. The next month they furnished 30 
maps to each officer in the combined ma- 
neuvers of the Second and Third Armies, 
and in October had about 200 sheets ready 
for the First Army. These base plants had 
thus assured an ample supply of maps, but 
this very production deprived tactical map- 
ping units of the chance to test their ability 
to turn out maps under combat conditions. 

The maneuvers also disclosed that troops 
gave insufficient attention to their maps. 
One exception was the IX Corps, which 
according to its Engineer, avoided a great 
deal of road work by studying the maps 
carefully. But in general other troops de- 
pended too much on filling station road 
maps, which contributed little to their train- 
ing and which sometimes led to disturbing 

consequences. Even with maps that con- 
tained clearly marked road and bridge in- 
formation, artillery units in the 1941 
Carolina maneuvers overloaded and dam- 
aged bridges by crossing first and inspecting 
later. Through failure to record data show- 
ing the location of important command 
posts, traffic stations gave little help in trac- 
ing troops in their vicinity. One observer 
spent hours seeking the whereabouts of First 
Army headquarters until he was informed 
by an ice-cream vendor that it was in Troy, 
South Carolina. Military police in that town 
could not give specific directions to this post, 
but a girl in their booth told the observer 
how to get there. 

Loper maintained that unit engineers and 
staff officers needed training in map supply 
and distribution, and decried their tendency 
to demand special maps to suit personal idio- 
syncrasies. During the Carolina maneuvers, 
one observer reported: "Maps were plenti- 
ful. In fact, there were too many kinds. 
Everybody one talked to had a different 
kind of map." 35 This profusion of custom- 
made maps not only slowed down produc- 
tion but also caused confusion among their 
users. In Loper's opinion, "standard sheet 
sizes, geographical arrangement, scales and 
content are essential to efficient map prepa- 
ration, supply, and use. Types of maps must 
be limited to those actually essential and the 
preparation of special maps to meet the in- 

34 (1) 1st Ind, 3 Sep 41. on Memo, ExO OCE 
for CofS GHQ, 21 Aug 41, sub: Prov Topo Bn 
for First Army Maneuvers. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, 
Pt. 14. (2) T/O 5-55, Engr Topo Bn (Army), 1 
Apr 42. 

Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of this 
section is based upon correspondence in ( 1 ) 354.2, 
Pts. 7A, 9, 10, and 11, and (2) 061, Pt. 2. 

3 ° Memo, Maj Theodore T. Molnar for CofEngrs, 
8 Dec 41, sub: Rpt of North and South Carolina 
Maneuvers. 354.2, Pt. 11. 


equipped to make plates and print maps has a separate small trailer furnishing electricity for 
the printing machine. 

dividual desires of certain unit commanders 
must be discouraged." 36 

At the same time Loper recognized the 
futility of issuing maps which would not 
be used. The rapid pace of the maneuvers 
bore out GHQ's contention that there 
would be little demand for large-scale maps 
in mobile warfare. Artillerymen welcomed 
detailed photomaps for locating enemy tar- 
gets, but other troops remained apathetic 
to them, pronouncing them "too bulky, too 
heavy, too stiff." 37 Some units did not even 
open the cartons to examine them. Loper 

believed that photomaps should be issued 
automatically to the artillery only ; to others 
on request. To cut down their weight and 
bulk by 40 to 50 percent, he favored reduc- 
ing their scale to 1 : 25,000 or less. As for 
tactical maps, most troops preferred scales 
of 1 : 125,000 and 1 : 250,000. Loper favored 
the former because it was sufficiently large 

M Memo, C of Intel Br for CofEngrs, 9 Dec 41, 
sub: Map Sup for 1941 Special Fid Exercises. 061, 
Pt. 2. 

37 Ltr, Gapt Paul W. Thompson to Kingman, 7 
Oct 41, sub: Army Maneuvers in Louisiana, 15-30 
Sep 41. 354.2, Pt. 10. 



to cover an area of about 750 square miles 
on a single sheet. Loper also concluded that 
the only practical approach to preparing 
maps of potential enemy areas consisted in 
exploiting to the utmost maps already in 
existence, depending upon aerial photog- 
raphy for revision and for filling gaps in 
coverage. Loper's conclusions struck a hope- 
ful note in a situation that had been ren- 
dered frustrating by the AAF's inability to 
supply planes and personnel for the exten- 
sive precise mapping photography that the 
General Staff had insisted was necessary. 
The sights had been lowered not simply by 
limitations imposed by the AAF but also as 
a result of observing the behavior of Ameri- 
can troops in what was a reasonably close 
approximation of battle conditions. 

Camouflage for Open Warfare 

Aerial photography opened up vast areas 
denied to the ground surveyor but magni- 
fied the difficulty of keeping military op- 
erations secret. It was still imperative for 
soldiers to employ natural and artificial 
cover. It was vastly more important to con- 
ceal large concentrations of units and the 
presence of installations such as airfields 
through elaborate camouflage in order to 
convey false information to aerial ob- 
servers. 38 

The AEF had met the need for camou- 
flage in World War I by employing special 
engineer units which supplied camouflage 
materials and circulated among the field 
armies as technical advisers. The field forces 
they served were responsible for camouflag- 
ing their own positions. These special troops 
were disbanded at the end of the war. Em- 
phasis reverted from protective conceal- 
ment to parade-ground appearance. Cam- 
ouflage methods remained geared to earlier 

conditions of battle, ill-suited to mobile tac- 
tics, and lagging behind advances in ob- 
servation techniques. Regarding camouflage 
as something for the experts to worry about 
if war broke out, the other arms seldom 
asked the Corps of Engineers for advice on 
this subject during peacetime. Part of the 
reason for this failure to consult the Engi- 
neers may have been the fact that the Corps 
had no clear-cut responsibility for camou- 
flage. The Army regulation which spelled 
out the Engineers' duties made no mention 
of the subject. Yet since no other agency had 
been charged with the functions carried out 
by engineer troops during World War I, the 
Corps naturally continued its interest, as- 
suming that its general responsibilities for 
supplying materials for the organization of 
defense systems included camouflage. 39 

For a good many years the only person 
who consistently devoted time and study to 
camouflage was Lt. Col. Homer Saint- 
Gaudens of the Carnegie Institute, an Engi- 
neer Reserve officer who had been in charge 
of camouflage for the Second Army in 
World War I. Relating camouflage to the 
other problems which troops encounter in 
the field, Saint-Gaudens helped keep this 
subject alive by contributing to training 
manuals, teaching at the Engineer School, 
and observing developments in foreign 
armies. Following his recommendation, the 
Engineer Board in 1937 set up a camouflage 
section which Arnold directed in addition 
to his mapping duties. By 1941 the study 

38 Except as otherwise noted, the discussion of 
camouflage is based upon: (1) OCE files, 467, SP 
272, Pts. 1 and 2, and 467, SP 314, Pt. 1 ; and (2) 
ERDI. files, CM 272 A, CM 272 B, CM 329, and 
CM 330. 

39 ( 1 ) Historical Report of the Chief Engineer 
. . . AEF, 1917-1919, pp. 68-78. (2) Rpt, Comm 
on Camouflage, Engr Sch, 30 Nov 40, sub: Special 
Course in Technique of Assault Opns. 352.11, Engr 
Sch, 670, Bulky. (3) AR 100-5, 6 Dec 21. 



and testing of materials and techniques be- 
came so intensive that this section required 
ten full-time officers and a complement of 
architects, designers, chemists, modelmak- 
ers, and other craftsmen.' 10 

In the interim the G— 2 had been shocked 
at the prevailing ignorance of camouflage 
techniques that became evident at the spring 
1940 maneuvers. "There is a tendency to 
associate spit-and-polish and Duco finished 
equipment with morale," he advised the 
Chief of Staff in June 1940. "This idea is 
believed to be false and detrimental to 
training. It is also positively dangerous, 
having as it does a tendency to defeat any 
serious effort at concealment." 41 The need 
for education and for modernization of 
camouflage methods to meet the challenge 
of infra-red and color photography caused 
the General Staff to clarify and publicize 
the Engineers' responsibilities in this area. 
On 29 June 1940 the War Department an- 
nounced its intention to include assignment 
of responsibility for the development of 
techniques, materials, and methods of train- 
ing in camouflage in the next revision of the 
appropriate Army regulation. There fol- 
lowed a letter to the chiefs of the arms and 
services and to corps area commanders 
calling their attention to the deficiencies 
noted at the maneuvers and designating the 
Corps of Engineers as the service to which 
they should look for guidance in raising the 
level of performance. 42 

With the assistance of the photographic 
section from Boiling Field and a small de- 
tachment from the Engineer School, the 
Engineer Board had reported in October 
1939 on general requirements for wartime 
camouflage. Following the system used in 
World War I, base battalions would fabri- 
cate materials in overseas theaters. Engi- 
neer battalions assigned to field armies 

would send out teams to instruct the troops 
and inspect their work. The board also rec- 
ommended flat-tops for concealing gun em- 
placements from aerial observation. A 
flat-top consisted of a cover of fishnet or wire 
mesh, garnished with foliage or strips of 
burlap, stretched over a framework of posts 
and baling wire. Seen from the air, a prop- 
erly garnished flat-top would blend with the 
color, texture, and shadows of surrounding 
terrain. For camouflaging vehicles, the 
board found the best solution was to drive 
them under cover. In areas where cover was 
not available, the board suggested dispersing 
the vehicles and spreading garnished nets 
over them. Even if not completely hidden, 
trucks, tanks, or other vehicles could be suf- 
ficiently obscured to deprive the enemy of 
clues to their purpose. 43 

Anticipating wartime shortages of mate- 
rials required for camouflage, the board in 
1939 tested the concealment properties of 
cotton and pulp-paper fabrics used com- 
mercially for vegetable sacking. This type 
of material proved too transparent and 
practically impossible to garnish. But the 
board was able to substitute osnaburg — a 
cotton cloth somewhat coarser than un- 
bleached muslin — for burlap which was 

40 (1) Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to CofEngrs, 4 Sep 37, 
sub: Camouflage Practice in Foreign Armies. 467, 
SP 204, Pt. 1. (2) "Engineer Board Notes: Re- 
search in Camouflage and Concealment Facilities," 
The Military Engineer, XXXIII (March-April, 
1941), 121. (3) Ann Rpt OCE, 1941. 

41 Memo, Actg ACofS G-2 for CofS, 7 Jun 40, 
sub: Protective Coloration and Camouflage. G-2 
file, 300.3 (AR 100-5) 2-10—4-1 (6-7-40). 

4 - (1) WD Cir 72, 29 Jun 40, sub: Protective 
Coloration and Camouflage. (2) Ltr, TAG for 
COs of Arms and Svs et al., 12 Jul 40, same sub. 
AG file, 321.7 (11-28-33), Case 1. 

43 (1) Ann Rpt Engr Bd, 1939. (2) Engr Bd Rpt 
585, 18 Oct 39, sub: Gen Review of Camouflage 
Procedure and Mats. (3) Engr Bd Rpt 562, 1 Feb 
39, sub: Camouflage Equip for Vehicles. 



MENT, 3d Army maneuver area, Louisiana, August 1941. 

made from imported jute. Like burlap, osna- 
burg was also suitable for baling, sandbags, 
and target cloth. Working in co-operation 
with the Department of Agriculture, the 
board developed special impregnants for 
preventing deterioration and damage to this 
material by fire, mildew, and rot. 44 

From 1 939 on, the board tested the effects 
of paints and colors on visibility. Study of 
terrain throughout the country indicated a 
need to stock only seven to nine colors. Of 
these, olive drab promised the widest appli- 
cation under most circumstances. In 1941 
the Army applied the information by adopt- 
ing this color for numerous articles of wood, 
metal, and cloth. But even with colors that 
blended with the surroundings, the standard 
paint had a conspicuous gloss. It was com- 
bustible and required turpentine or linseed 

oil for thinning. After testing a number of 
commercial products, the board recom- 
mended a lusterless casein paint which could 
be thinned with 50 percent water. It was 
inexpensive, had good concealment quali- 
ties, and reduced fire hazard, but it took 
several days to become resistant to rain, and 
when stored outside, froze in winter and 
turned sour in summer. Since most casein 
was imported, the board encouraged pri- 
vate industry and the Federation of Paint, 
Varnish, and Lacquer Production Clubs to 
seek a substitute. The resulting product was 
an inexpensive resin-bound cold-water paint 
which dried rapidly and stored readily. 45 

"Rpt cited |n. 43 (2)1 

Ja (1) Engr Bd Rpt 585, 18 Oct 39. (2) Ltr, 
Arnold to ExO Engr Bd, 8 Aug 40, sub: Rpt of 
Visit to Armd Center, 5-6 Aug 40. ERDL file, SP 



Advances in observation techniques 
meanwhile created a formidable new weap- 
on against camouflage — infra-red photog- 
raphy. Improvements in film now permitted 
taking infra-red photographs from fast-fly- 
ing aircraft. With infra-red filters and film, 
artificial pigments photograph much darker 
than the green of natural vegetation even 
though they look the same to the eye. The 
problem, then, was to get camouflage ma- 
terials that both visually and photographi- 
cally matched the colors of nature. The 
board experimented with cut foliage, which 
made ideal garnishing except that it 
withered and required frequent renewal. 
With help from the Department of Agri- 
culture, some headway was made in pre- 
serving cut plants ; however, the foliage did 
not endure outdoors. The board was more 
successful with infra-red paint. Having no 
commercial demand, this product did not 
exist before 1941 and had to be specially 
developed. The board again profited from 
research carried out by its own new labora- 
tory and by the paint industry. By the fall 
of 1941 it was possible to prepare casein 
and resin-bound paints in standard colors 
which could not be detected by infra-red 

While working on these general problems, 
the Corps of Engineers also developed spe- 
cial camouflage equipment for other arms. 
In 1939 Arnold reported on experiments 
with two-dimensional decoys made from 
strips of painted cloth which from high alti- 
tude resembled silhouettes of aircraft on the 
ground. By distracting attention from real 
planes, they would lure the enemy into wast- 
ing his efforts and expose him to antiaircraft 
fire. To simulate shadows, panels of black 
cloth were placed along the lighter silhou- 

ettes. These decoys were partially effective 
against visual observation at 2,000 feet, but 
to deceive the aerial camera and to avoid 
the necessity of moving the shadow panels 
to correspond with the position of the sun, 
Arnold suggested elevating the silhouettes 
onto frames. 48 

More intensive research on decoys for the 
AAF as well as other arms came later. So 
long as troops lacked guns, tanks, and planes 
for training, it seemed frivolous to talk 
about using decoys in battle. Thus in Au- 
gust 1941, Maj. Lyle E. Seeman, chief of 
the camouflage section at the Engineer 
Board, explained to a display manufac- 
turer: "The subject of elaborate dummies 
as you outline, would be secondary to plac- 
ing the real thing in the hands of a man to 
defend himself. If and when a good bluff 
will ... be required, and whether that will 
fall into our responsibility in camouflage 
work, is a matter of conjecture." 47 

Decoys were only incidental to the pro- 
tection of actual military objects. Conceal- 
ment of aircraft on the ground depended 
largely on how effectively the airdromes 
themselves were concealed. Aviation engi- 
neers were trained to pay particular at- 
tention to camouflage and dispersion, to 
disturb the existing terrain as little as pos- 
sible, to blend the runways with the rest 
of the landscape, to build repair shops that 
resembled farm buildings, and to erect flat- 
tops and camouflaged sandbag barricades 
at the edge of the field where dispersed air- 
craft could be parked. If time permitted, 

43 Engr Bd Rpt 574, 16 Jun 39, sub: Silhouettes 
for Aircraft. 

41 Ltr, Secman to Jenter Exhibits and Display- 
Co., 11 Aug 41. ERDL file, CM 329. 



DUMMY PLANES IN POSITION, 4rmy maneuver area, October 1941. 

they would even lay out decoy airdromes to 
divert the enemy from the real installation. 48 
Field artillery batteries needed camou- 
flage that could be quickly applied when- 
ever they moved. But flat-tops originally de- 
signed for stabilized conditions took a long 
time to set up. Garnishing the nets them- 
selves was such a slow operation that troops 
often disregarded concealment altogether 
or flung bare netting over their parked ve- 
hicles and emplacements. Although the 
board had originally felt it preferable for 
troops to paint and garnish their own nets 
to match the local terrain, Saint-Gaudens 
repeatedly advised simplification of work 
in the field. It would be overly optimistic to 
expect troops to bother with elaborate con- 
cealment measures in combat; they had not 
done so in World War I and they would not 
now, he maintained. The board therefore 
arranged to furnish precut colored strips of 

osnaburg as well as nets which were already 
garnished in three standard blends of colors 
for different terrains and seasons. 49 

Even with pregarnished nets, it took hours 
to dismantle and set up flat-tops for artillery 

JS ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col E. P. Sorensen, Actg Dir AC 
Bd, to CofAC, 9 Oct 39, sub: Air Corps Bd Study 
42, Shadow Shading of Airplanes, in Air Corps Bd 
Study 42, 21 Jul 41. 467, SP 314. (2) Col. Stuart 
C. Godfrey, "Engineers with the Army Air Forces," 
The Military Engineer, XXXIII (November, 1941), 
487-91. (3) Maj. R. E. Smyser, Jr., "Airdromes 
for War," The Military Engineer, XXXIII (De- 
cember, 1941), 556. 

49 (1) Info Bull 15, 14 Nov 38, sub: Camouflage. 
(2) Lt. Col. Homer Saint-Gaudens, "Discussion," 
after Capt. P. Rodyenko, "An All-purpose Camou- 
flage Net," The Military Engineer, XXXIII 
(March-April, 1941), 152. (3) Memo, Saint- 
Gaudens for Files, 7 Feb 41, sub: Investigation of 
Engr Camouflage Through the Mil Attache at the 
British Embassy and the British Mil Mission . . . 
6 Feb 41. ERDL file, CM 314. (4) Memo, Sceman 
for Saint-Gaudens, 11 Oct 41, sub: Proc of Cam- 
ouflage Mats. 467, SP 62, Pt. 1. (5) Engr Bd Rpt 
656, 15 Jan 42, sub: Camouflage Mats and Equip. 



emplacements. Low trajectory firing left 
blast marks on the ground, requiring either 
painstaking precautions or changes in posi- 
tion to avoid detection. Antiaircraft guns 
were even more troublesome to conceal 
because they had to be mounted in the open 
to secure complete traverse and elevation. 50 

Realizing that modern warfare required 
faster means of concealment, the board 
started to revise the artillery frame in Janu- 
ary 1941. Saint-Gaudens, just given charge 
of camouflage at OCE, submitted details 
about a prefabricated frame for a 30x30- 
foot net that the British were using. He had 
seen a crew erect it in eight minutes, and 
when ready to fire, clear the net from the 
gun by releasing a switch. After experiment- 
ing with various flat-top structures, the 
board adapted the British model for the 3- 
inch gun. In place of bulky wooden posts 
which the old type of flat-top required, the 
new set used iron pipes which fitted into 
sockets welded on the outriggers of the gun 
and which were further secured by guy wires 
fastened to stakes. Because the British net 
was too small to conceal both gun and crew, 
the board added two nets measuring 14x29- 
feet each. A crew could now camouflage a 
gun in fifteen to twenty minutes, clear away 
the net in ten seconds, and reuse the same 
frame about a hundred times. The principle 
of knocked-down prefabricated sets was fur- 
ther applied during the war to the conceal- 
ment of other artillery pieces and even to 
small aircraft. 51 

For several years the Engineer Board, 
upon requests by the infantry, had also in- 
vestigated the use of small nets for conceal- 
ing individual soldiers on duty as scouts and 
snipers. Such nets were helpful so long as 
soldiers remained motionless but hindered 
combat activity by catching onto weapons 
and equipment. Arnold believed it simpler 

to break the form of the helmet with foliage 
and to darken the face and hands with 
dirt. 52 Meanwhile reports from abroad de- 
scribed special camouflage suits and helmet 
covers. In 1940 the board began to experi- 
ment with mottled garments which blended 
with foliage, fields, and grass, and in the fall 
of 1941 sent samples to the Infantry and 
Armored Force. At first, adoption of these 
suits was resisted because they lacked the 
snappy appearance of regular uniforms. 
Although the commander of the Hawaiian 
Department believed that such garments 
would benefit forces on the beaches or in 
tropical vegetation, the Chief of Infantry 
doubted that any "self-respecting Army 
would wear suits like that." 53 On First 
Army maneuvers that fall, some lookouts 
hid their suits rather than bear the taunts of 
fellow soldiers, but other forward observers 
that wore them evaded discovery from 
tanks that passed within a few yards. In 
December 1941 the Infantry and Armored 
Force Boards, while recommending changes 
in tailoring, reported favorably on the idea 
of camouflage clothing. Special suits of this 
type were issued during the war, and some 
troops painted their fatigues in mottled 
patterns. 54 

However ingenious these measures were, 
their value in the last analysis depended 
upon the using arms. Interest flagged when 

M Info Bull 15, 14 Nov 38, sub: Camouflage. 
( 1 ) Info Bull 42, 11 Mar 40, sub: Camouflage. 
(2) Engr Bd Rpt 675, 16 Mar 42, sub: Camouflage 
Net Set for Light and Medium Fid Arty Batteries. 

" Engr Bd Rpt 572, 29 May 39, sub : Camouflage 
Nets of Individuals. 

53 Memo, Maj R. P, Breckenridge, Engr Bd, for 
File, 12 Nov 41, sub: Memo of Conf OQMG, 11- 
7-41. ERDL file, CM 330. 

04 (1) Armd Force Bd Rpt P-185, 11 Dec 41, 
sub: Camouflage of Individuals. 467, SP 330, Pt. 1. 
(2) Inf Bd Rpt 1280, 3 Dec 41, sub: Individual 
Camouflage Suits. Same file. 




it was found that camouflage involved work 
and foresight. Even when natural cover and 
artificial materials were available, troops on 
maneuvers generally failed to use them. 
They left their nets in cartons, or set them 
up incorrectly; they concealed against 
lateral, but not overhead, observation; they 
double-parked long lines of vehicles 
bumper-to-bumper; and they failed to ob- 
serve blackout regulations. No doubt the 
exaggerated rapidity of operations as well 
as the virtual absence of aircraft tended to 
minimize the incentive to camouflage on 
these exercises. In addition, observance of 
camouflage in training seemed superfluous 
to troops who could not sense any immedi- 
ate and visible danger. What they neglected 

to practice they expected to apply in battle. 
The Engineers knew this type of thinking 
would result in initial casualties, but so 
long as camouflage discipline was a com- 
mand decision, there was little they could do 
beyond extending the scope of instruction in 
this subject to the other arms. 55 

" (1 ) Memo, ExO OCE for Kingman, 8 May 40, 
sub: Rpt on the IV Corps Maneuvers at Ft. Ben- 
ning. 354.2, Pt. 7A. (2) Ltr, Kingman to TAG, 12 
Jun 40, sub: Rpt of Obsvrs on Spring Maneuvers. 
Same file. (3) Rpt, Comm on Camouflage, Engr 
Sch, 30 Nov 40, sub: Special Course in Technique 
of Assault Opns. 352.11, Engr Sch, 670, Bulky. (4) 
Memo, Gorlinski, AC of O&T Br, for Fowler, 4 Dec 
41, sub: First Army Maneuvers, 22-28 Nov 41. 
354.2, Pt. 10. (5) Ltr, Kingman to TAG, 28 Oct 
41, sub: Activation of Additional Camouflage 
Bns. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. 


A Start in the Procurement of Equipment 

In the hands of trained troops, power 
machinery, new types of emergency bridges, 
mine detectors, landing mats, and intricate 
devices for the compilation and reproduc- 
tion of maps would become instruments for 
attaining the speed and efficiency required 
of engineer units in the new Army. Some 
of the most ingenious of these items were 
still in the development stage in 1940 when 
the United States began to build up its mili- 
tary strength. Assistant Secretary of War 
Robert P. Patterson, whose main function 
was to oversee the purchase of supplies for 
the Army, realized the potential of the 
equipment under development but insisted 
that suitable substitutes be bought imme- 
diately. The search for improvements must 
continue but not at the sacrifice of an ac- 
celerated procurement program, Patterson 
instructed Schley in August. 1 Except for 
a few items, such as trucks, the Engineers 
had authority to buy all the equipment for 
engineer troops doing engineer work. Cam- 
ouflage materials and searchlights were the 
only significant purchases made for other 
arms and services. For the accomplishment 
of its major tasks the Corps was ready in 
1940 to order tonstruction machinery and 
other equipment already selected as soon 
as money was forthcoming. 

Peacetime Plans 

For almost twenty years, during the in- 
terim between the two wars, the Corps of 

Engineers had planned for wartime pro- 
curement of equipment under the general 
rules laid down by the Office of the Assistant 
Secretary of War (OASW). The aim of 
such planning was the orderly placement 
of contracts during any future military ex- 
pansion so as to avoid the competition for 
facilities and labor that had characterized 
military buying in World War I. Given the 
number of troops specified by the General 
Staff for a wartime Army, the services could 
presumably calculate the quantities of 
equipment needed. Industrial capacity 
could then be investigated and specific 
plants lined up. On the basis of recommen- 
dations received, OASW was to allocate 
plants or portions of plants to the various 

The services did not make elaborate plans 
for each item to be procured. Many articles 
that would be bought in wartime were com- 
mercial products and could be obtained 
without difficulty. For these items OASW 
required only that lists of prospective sup- 
pliers be maintained. For special military 
items and for commercial products which 
for one reason or another might prove scarce 
in wartime OASW encouraged the prepara- 
tion of drawings and specifications, descrip- 

'Memo, ASW for CofEngrs, 26 Aug 40, sub: 
Freezing of Designs. 400.112 (G). 

2 R. Elberton Smith, The Army and Economic 
Mobilization, a volume in preparation for the series, 
Draft Ch. VII, pp. 6-7. 



tions of the manufacturing process, sched- 
ules of production, and estimates of the 
requisite machine tools and manpower. 3 

The Corps of Engineers was not in a posi- 
tion to derive much benefit from the pro- 
curement planning program because ac- 
curate requirements were impossible to 
predict. It was simple enough to figure out 
how many bulldozers would have to be pro- 
duced for direct issue to troop units, but 
it was quite another matter to estimate how 
many bulldozers, road graders, tons of ce- 
ment, square feet of landing mat, or other 
such supplies, would be needed for special 
wartime construction projects. Estimates for 
a war in the Pacific would differ vastly from 
those for a war on the continent of Europe. 
Since the planners could not know where 
the war would be fought they had to make 
assumptions. The Operations and Training 
Section compiled lists of equipment and 
materials that would be needed in a given 
type of activity . in a given climate and ter- 
rain. The Supply Section had little faith in 
such compilations and frankly admitted in 
1 939 that plans for operational supplies were 
incomplete. Since ultimate expenditures 
for such supplies accounted for approxi- 
mately 60 percent of the dollar value of the 
Engineer procurement program, plans 
which did not state these requirements ac- 
curately were necessarily deficient in fore- 
casting the amount of industrial capacity 
needed. 4 

The Engineers did not fit well into the 
planning program for another reason. Most 
of the items they were preparing to buy, in- 
cluding the whole array of construction ma- 
chinery, were either standard or slightly 
modified commercial articles. OASW was 
naturally for the most part preoccupied with 
planning for the production of weapons and 
other materiel not manufactured in peace- 


(Photograph taken J 944.) 

time, an attitude clearly expressed shortly 
after war broke out in Europe. Anxious that 
procurement planning be accelerated, 
OASW considered limiting the allocation of 
facilities to special military equipment. The 
Engineers were quick to protest. Allocation 
of facilities and preparation of production 
schedules for construction machinery and 
numerous other standard commercial ar- 
ticles should be continued, the Supply Sec- 
tion maintained, since wartime requirements 
were certain to tax productive capacity, and 
since no reserve stocks had been authorized. 

Ml) OASW Plan Br Cir 2, 10 Jun 38, sub: 
Proc Plans. 400.12, Pt. 89. (2) Ltr, Dir Plan Br 
OASW to CofEngrs, 23 Sep 38, sub; Progress in 
Proc Plan. Same file. 

4 (1) Lectures on Proc Plan, Lecture 2, 18-23 
Mar 29. EHD files. (2) Engr Mob Plan Based on 
WD Mob Plan (1933 Rev), 15 Jun 34. EHD files. 
(3) Memo, C of Sup Sec for O&T Sec, 24 Jun 39. 
O&T Sec file, 370.94 Mob Sup Folio 6. 

60-INCH SEARCHLIGHT UNIT being tested by engineers in the General Electric 
plant, Schenectady, N. T. 



The Supply Section was also acutely con- 
scious that many of the plants on which the 
Corps was dependent could be readily con- 
verted to the manufacture of munitions. If 
OASW were to stop allocating such plants, 
other services might successfully crowd the 
Engineers out. OASW did not press the 
matter. 5 

Ironically, the Supply Section was most 
successful in planning production for 
searchlights which were for the use of an- 
other service and which the development of 
radar made practically obsolete by 1943. 
The fear lest there be insufficient search- 
lights was understandable enough in the 
late thirties when to all but a handful of 
farsighted individuals the defense of the 
United States extended no farther than its 
borders. The Engineers could get money 
for searchlights when little could be had for 
anything else. With this one item, plans 
could be acted upon. The 60-inch search- 
light unit consisted of a reflector with mir- 
ror, control station, power plant, and con- 
trol and power cables. Sources of produc- 
tion were extremely limited. In the thirties 
the Sperry Gyroscope Company was the 
only plant tooled up for production of the 
light; the only producer of the parabolic 
metal mirror was Bart Laboratories of Belle- 
ville, New Jersey, a small plant owned and 
operated by the inventor of the process by 
which metal mirrors were made. In addi- 
tion, the Engineer Board maintained a 
small experimental mirror laboratory at 
Fort Belvoir. In 1938 the Engineers received 
the first of three allotments of money to in- 
crease productive capacity for mirrors and 
lights. Under a program authorized by Con- 
gress to provide industry with some experi- 
ence in the manufacture of special military 

items the Engineers granted an educational 
order to the General Electric Company 
which induced that plant to tool up for 
the manufacture of lights. Expansion of the 
Bart Laboratories, conversion of the Engi- 
neer Board's laboratory to manufacturing, 
and finally, as demands for searchlights 
mounted in 1940, construction of a new 
mirror plant at Mariemont, Ohio, followed 
in quick succession. 6 

In June 1940 Kingman announced that 
procurement plans were complete for all but 
a fraction of those items which might 
present production problems. 7 This meant 
at least that various facilities had been ear- 
marked for wartime production. If the 
Engineers entertained any fears that these 
facilities would prove insufficient they did 
not say so. Indeed, lacking a firm base from 
which to estimate quantities of operational 
supplies, the Engineers could not produce 
any facts to bolster such a claim. Unfor- 
tunately, these uncertainties about require- 
ments persisted throughout the period 
before Pearl Harbor. Of equally serious con- 
sequence was the fact that during this time 
the Engineers were afforded practically no 
opportunity to order the operational sup- 
plies that were to account for so much the 
greater part of their wartime purchases. 

5 ( 1 ) Ltr, Dir Plan Br OASW to GofEngrs, 2 
Nov 39, sub: Alloc of Industrial Capacity. 400.12, 
Pt. 95. (2) Ltr. C of Sup Sec to ASW, 14 Nov 39, 
same sub. Same file. 

6 ( 1 ) Memo, Control Office OCE for Col John 
W. N. Schulz, OASW, 8 Jul 39, sub: Educational 
Order— 60-inch AA Searchlight. AG 381/147 Edu- 
cational Orders. (2) Ltr, C of Sup Sec to ASW, 5 
Jul 38, sub: Program Under Educational Order 
Legislation. 400.12, Pt. 89. (3) Elaine A. Nelson, 
The Construction of the War Department Search- 
light Mirror Plants {typescript, March 1944). EHD 
files. (4) Engr Bd Hist Study, Metal Searchlight 

7 Ann Rpt OCE, 1940. 



Two Million Extra 

The Corps of Engineers was constrained 
to limit its purchases as a result of War De- 
partment policy. Uncertain itself as to if, or 
when, or where the United States might be 
committed to fight, the War Department 
concentrated upon readying an emergency 
defense force and providing industrial 
capacity for the production of weapons and 
ammunition. Accordingly the procurement 
program developed by the Engineers was 
limited to providing troop units with or- 
ganizational equipment. Such a program 
was desperately needed. The bulk of ponton 
bridging on hand was obsolete. Troop units 
authorized construction machinery trained 
with hand tools. 8 

The Engineers received their first sub- 
stantial allotment of money to buy modern 
equipment for troop units in February 1940, 
following the President's declaration of a 
limited national emergency and his author- 
ization to increase the size of the Regular 
Army from 210,000 to 227,000 men. The 
Engineers' share of the February appropria- 
tion was $2,000,000, a small sum, not quite 
sufficient to equip completely all units in the 
Regular Army much less the National 
Guard. Small as it was the February appro- 
priation signaled a fundamental change that 
was immediately recognized. The Supply 
Section shared in the general enthusiasm 
and understood the eagerness of unit com- 
manders to receive new equipment, but 
cautioned restraint. The first of a series of 
bulletins designed "to furnish ... an in- 
sight into the inner workings of the Supply 
Section" and to "prevent dire accusations 
from the field of unwarranted delay and 
gross inefficiency," pointed out that "we 
are not at war, and the supply of troop or- 
ganizations still must follow our normal 

peacetime procedure. . . . Many bright 
ideas of speeding up purchases have been 
proposed, but remember the laws must be 
observed." 9 

The most fundamental of the laws which 
had to be observed was that requiring com- 
petition for government orders. Competi- 
tion was assured by a system of bidding 
whereby a government agency advertised its 
intention to buy a given product and invited 
business firms to submit proposals as to 
quality, time of delivery, and price. The 
lowest bidder usually got the order, although 
the government could pass over a firm whose 
product did not meet specifications or who 
clearly would not be capable of delivering. 
This system of buying had many advantages 
in a normal peacetime market. Since all 
prospective sellers had an opportunity to 
bid, charges of favoritism were obviated. 
Since contracts were awarded to the lowest 
responsible bidder, the government presum- 
ably paid a price that was both economical 
and fair. But the system was not expected to 
work during an emergency. First, it was in- 
compatible with the planned-for allocation 
of facilities. Second, it was too time-consum- 
ing. In case of a major rearmament the 
government would negotiate its contracts, 
as was the universal practice in private 

The time consumed by competitive bid- 
ding was of immediate concern to the Sup- 
ply Section. Ten to thirty days were allowed 
for the submission of bids. Evaluation of 
bids and necessary paperwork followed. 
Anxious to get equipment into the hands of 

8 Unless otherwise noted this section is based 
upon: (1) Smith, op. cit., Gh. IV, pp. 4-9; (2) 
Ann Rpt OCE, 1940; (3) Sup Notes 1, 15 Feb 40, 
and 2, 26 Mar 40, in Rqmts Br file, Engr Sup Notes 

Sup Notes 1, cited n. 8 (3). 



the troops as soon as possible, the Supply 
Section tried to speed up this process some- 
what. The Procurement Branch sent out 
invitations to bid as soon as money had been 
appropriated, not waiting as was customary 
for the actual receipt of funds. 

By 1 March 1940 contracts valued at 
about a million dollars had been let for air 
compressors, power shovels, road graders, 
concrete mixers, bulldozers, assault boats, 
bridges, water purification units, and map 
reproduction trains. The Supply Section was 
most anxious to obtain all this equipment 
in time for the maneuvers scheduled for 
May but doubted this could be done. 
Bridges, boats, and water purification 
units — special military items — took a year 
or more to produce in quantity. 1 " "It takes 
months to buy even a standard type of gaso- 
line shovel," Godfrey lamented. 11 Six months 
from ordering to delivery was about average 
for the amount and types of construction 
machinery the Engineers had placed under 

Engineer troops took little new equip- 
ment to the spring maneuvers. Their equip- 
ment, the Chief of Staff recalled, was "trag- 
ically short even for the few Engineer units 
in the Regular Army." 12 Summing up the 
situation at the end of June 1940 Kingman 
noted that funds allotted had enabled the 
Engineers to order equipment for the tri- 
angular divisions, IV Corps, and GHQ 
troops which represented most but not all 
elements in the 227,000-man Army. As As- 
sistant Secretary of War Patterson pre- 
sented the facts, in short, the twenty-four 
engineer units in the Regular Army in June 
1940 were lacking some critical items and 
the National Guard's nineteen engineer 
units had scarcely anything at all." Up to 
this point, both lack of money and lack of 
time had contributed to shortages. After the 

German advance through the Low Coun- 
tries, it was time more often than money 
that threatened to run out. 

Rearming in Earnest 

When the Chief of Staff appeared before 
the House Appropriations Committee early 
in 1940 to defend the Army budget for the 
next fiscal year, the American people had 
recovered from the shock of the German at- 
tack on Poland. There had been little mili- 
tary action after the completion of the Pol- 
ish campaign. This fact, generously rein- 
forced with wishful thinking, had led to the 
popular concept of the phony war. Under 
these circumstances, many congressmen 
were unsympathetic toward the Army's re- 
quest for $853,000,000. The military, far 
less sanguine about the world situation, re- 
garded the Army budget as the barest mini- 
mum of safety, but felt compelled to say 
nothing that could be construed as war- 
mongering. On 9 April 1 940, six weeks after 
General Marshall's testimony on the appro- 
priation bill, the Germans moved into Nor- 
way. On 10 May came the full-scale blitz- 
krieg in the west. Suddenly the budget that 
had seemed so large appeared modest 
indeed. 14 

The War Department had a plan — the 
Protective Mobilization Plan — that pro- 
vided for the orderly expansion of the Army 
in case of a national emergency. The first 
increment was to bring the active Army to 

10 Memo, C of Sup Sec for G-4, 13 Apr 40, sub: 
Proc of Engr Equip. Rqmts Br file, Gen Staff, G-4. 

11 H, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill 
for 1941, Hearings, p. 656. 

12 Special Senate Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, 
Investigation of the National Defense Program, 
Hearings on S. Res 71, Pt. 1, p. 162. 

13 Ibid., Pt. 6, p. 1538. 

14 Watson, Chief of Staff, pp. 164-65. 



750,000 men. The $853,000,000 budget 
which the Chief of Staff defended in Febru- 
ary 1 940 included money to stockpile critical 
items (defined as items not readily available 
from commercial sources) for the Initial 
Protective Force and to procure both critical 
and essential items available on relatively 
short notice for the currently authorized 
227,000-man Regular Army and 235,000- 
man National Guard. On 19 April, ten days 
after the Germans attacked Norway, the 
Supply Division (G— 4) of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff asked the services to 
prepare estimates to cover those critical items 
omitted from the budget which were needed 
by active units of the Army. This was the 
first of a number of estimates called for 
during the spring and summer of 1940 as 
the battle of France was being lost. By the 
end of June, Congress had appropriated 
nearly $3,000,000,000 to the Army, the goal 
now being to provide critical and essential 
items for a force of 610,000 and critical 
items for 1,200,000 men. The Munitions 
Program of 30 June raised the sights still 
higher. Under this program the Army pro- 
posed to provide a force of 1,200,000 with 
critical and essential items by 3 1 September 
1941, to provide critical items for 500,000 
more men by the following December, and 
to create productive capacity for the even- 
tual arming of 4,000,000. In the fall, Con- 
gress appropriated additional money, bring- 
ing the total funds available to the Army to 
$7,000,000,000. The Corps of Engineers' 
share of this amount was $70,000,000. 1S 

Justifications for this sum had been pre- 
pared by the Requirements, Storage and 
Issue Branch, Supply Section, in great haste. 
The request for estimates made on 19 April 
had to be answered the following day. But 
the small staff of the Requirements Branch 
had had no difficulty in arriving at the an- 

swers to such requests. Computing require- 
ments for organizational equipment, and 
this was all the Engineers were asked to do, 
was a matter of simple arithmetic. Quanti- 
ties of items required for the initial equip- 
ment of troops were found by multiplying 
T/BA allowances for each type of troop unit 
by the number of units authorized. To this 
figure the Requirements Branch added a 
percentage to allow for replacement. From 
the resulting total it deducted quantities 
known to be on hand or previously financed 
and prepared a statement of requirements as 
called for. 16 

Since War Department policy prohibited 
the stockpiling of commercial products the 
Munitions Program did not include allow- 
ances for the purchase of any operational 
Class IV supplies for the Corps of Engineers. 
Although deploring this rule the Engineers 
did not apply immediately for its relaxation. 
They did call attention to deficiencies that 
were demonstrable under specific defense 
plans. In the spring of 1940 defense plans 
provided for the deployment of task forces 
to defend strategic points in the Western 

"(1) Ibid., pp. 30, 128, 171, 178-80. (2) H, 
Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1941, 
Hearings, p. 2. (3) Memo, WD Budget Off for 
CofEngrs, 19 Apr 40, sub: Supplemental Estimate 
for Critical Items. Ill (1941) (S). (4) Memo, G 
of Sup Sec for ACofS G-4, 28 May 40. Fiscal Liai- 
son Sec file, Regular Estimate 1942. (5) Memo, 
ACofS G-4 for Gs of Sup Arms and Svs, 26 Jun 
40, sub: Army Rqmts for a Force of 4,000,000 Men. 
Rqmts Br file, Gen Staff G-4. (6) S, First Supple- 
mental National Defense Appropriation Bill for 
1941, Hearings, 76th Cong, 3d Sess, pp. 1-3. (7) 
Incl with Memo, C of Fiscal Br for Dir Purch and 
Contracts OUSW, 17 Dec 41. 400.13, Pt. 3. 

M ( 1 ) Army Industrial College Short Course 3, 
Current Proc in Corps of Engrs, given by Brig Gen 
John J. Kingman, Sep 41. (Hereafter cited as AIC 
Short Course 3.) Intnl Div file, 400.113. (2) 
Memo, Maint Sec for C of Rqmts and Resources 
Sec, 30 Oct 42, sub: Maint Factors. 400.4, Pt. 1. 
(3) ArmRpt OCE, 1941. 



Hemisphere. 17 After a study of the require- 
ments for an expeditionary force which if 
necessary was to be sent to Brazil, Kingman 
commented : 

A review . . . indicates that the magni- 
tude of the engineer tasks involved needs to 
be appreciated and further emphasized. The 
theater of operations involved is one of very 
meager routes of communication and facilities 
for engineer operations. 

The equipment needed for this force will 
involve much more than organizational equip- 
ment. Special attention will have to be paid to 
road building equipment, heavier than nor- 
mally issued to troops, and including such 
plant as portable rock crushers. ... A con- 
siderable number of water purification units 
should be included. Portable sawmills will be 
needed to utilize local timber resources. 

The tonnage of Class 4 operational supplies 
will be large. Such supplies as barbed wire, 
sandbags, cement, prepared timbers, struc- 
tural steel, railroad rails, . . . and many 
other supplies, must be taken in large 
quantities. 18 

When the General Staff revised its plans 
for defense in the light of the German vic- 
tories, Kingman made a specific request. 
Rainbow 4, as the new plan was called, 
contemplated the occupation of certain 
foreign possessions in the Western Hemi- 
sphere and provided for the defense of 
Hawaii and Alaska. Under the schedule of 
movements, troops would be deployed in 
three contingents, the first force to move on 
ten days' notice, the second in thirty days, 
and the remainder in forty. The Engineers 
estimated they would need about $15,000,- 
000 to ready themselves for the operations 
included in Rainbow 4-: $1,808,000 worth 
of equipment of the same type but in greater 
amounts than that automatically furnished 
troop units; $1,560,000 worth of special 
equipment such as heavy construction 

machinery and rock crushers; and $11,718,- 
000 worth of construction materials. Only a 
small part of these supplies was on ha* 
included in the current procurement pro- 
gram. Kingman notified G-4 in September 
1940 that it would take at least 60 days to 
obtain the total quantities specified. G-4, 
persuaded by this justification, suggested 
that the request for funds be included in the 
next appropriation bill. 

Early in December a representative of the 
War Plans Division, General Staff, per- 
suaded the Engineers to withdraw the re- 
quest for most of the funds. Rainbow 4 had 
been changed to allow thirty days before 
movement of the first contingent. Strictly 
speaking, most supplies included in the 
$15,000,000 estimate might be gathered to- 
gether within thirty days. But Lt. Col. John 
M. Silkman, the chief of the Supply Section, 
warned that "new equipment may not be 
available and . . . used equipment might 
have to be commandeered or even con- 
fiscated depending upon the urgency of 
the situation under which the Rainbow 
Plan became operative. The potentiality of 
such action as a source of confusion and 
delay in activities of first importance . . . 
should not be overlooked nor underesti- 
mated." The funds were not restored. 18 

" On the various plans and measures for protec- 
tion of the Western Hemisphere, see: Stetson Conn 
and Byron Fairchild, The Framework of Hemi- 
sphere Defense, a volume in preparation for the 

The following discussion of the Engineers' part in 
these defense plans is based upon: (1) Conn and 
Fairchild, op. cit., Ch, I, pp. 10-12, and Ch. II, pp. 
10-11 ; and (2) Corresp in P&T Div file, 381, Rain- 
bow, Folio 1, and G-4 file 31604-3 (S). 

" Memo, ACofEngrs for ACofS WPD, 4 Mar 40, 
sub: Rqmts for Task Force 1, JBWP-R-1. P&T Div 
file, 381, Rainbow, Folio 1. 

10 Memo, C of Sup Sec for Lt Col R. W. Craw- 
ford, 3 Dec 40, sub: Special Equip for Rainbow 
Plan. P&T Div file, 381, Rainbow, Folio 1. 



On occasion the Engineers called atten- 
tion to the great discrepancy between what 
was being bought under the Munitions 
Program and what would be required in 
wartime. The emergency had not developed 
according to the book with an M Day touch- 
ing off a prearranged series of steps. Instead, 
as Kingman pointed out, "plans and re- 
quirements for supply, at least for the Engi- 
neers, have been made piecemeal with 
constantly changing objectives and author- 
izations dependent on expected appropria- 
tions." 20 The result was a relatively small 
procurement program which the Engineers 
believed could be executed without diffi- 

The launching of the Munitions Program 
resulted in a number of changes in the laws 
and policies which regulated government 
buying. The expansion of productive facili- 
ties was assured by a relaxation of the tax 
laws to allow amortization of expenditures 
for plant construction, and by government 
financing in the form of loans or outright 
ownership. Competitive bidding was no 
longer required. Advance payments on con- 
tracts could be made. In an attempt to in- 
sure the production of first things first the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board ( ANMB ) 
established a system of priority ratings for 
military orders. In general, speed of delivery 
consistent with an acceptable product re- 
placed cost as the factor to be given primary 
consideration. 21 

A score of suggestions were added to these 
formal arrangements for expediting the 
Munitions Program. OASW directed that 
the time allowed for submission and evalua- 
tion of competitive bids be cut. In order to 
spread the work to as many suppliers as pos- 
sible, restrictive specifications were to be 
avoided, awards split, the use of subcon- 
tractors encouraged, and inspections 

speeded up. The Advisory Commission to 
the Council of National Defense (NDAC), 
the civilian group charged with supervision 
of the over-all productive effort, gave fur- 
ther guidance to the program. The NDAC 
reminded the services of their responsibility 
for protecting the rights of consumers and 
of labor, cautioned against overconcentra- 
tion of orders, and recommended that the 
financial condition of prospective suppliers 
be carefully investigated. 23 

That many of these rules and regulations 
were not particularly applicable to the En- 
gineer procurement program points up once 
again its relatively small size as well as the 
commercial nature of the products being 
bought. While the Ordnance Department 
was sponsoring the construction of a multi- 
million dollar munitions industry, the only 
government-owned plant sponsored by the 
Corps of Engineers was the $450,000 search- 
light mirror facility at Mariemont, Ohio. 
But some few contractors had to expand 
their facilities in order to fill Engineer orders 
and in these cases the Corps certified that 
they were eligible for relief under the tax 
amortization law. The Engineers were well 
acquainted with their prospective suppliers. 
They did not have to worry, as did those 
services whose volume of buying would tax 
productive capacity, about the fast talking 
gentlemen with offices in their hats who 
turned up in Washington offering to pro- 
duce almost anything. 23 

30 AIC Short Course 3. 

1 F or a di scussion of the priorities system, see 

below, p. 99. 

^ (1) Ltr, ASW to CofEngrs et at, 12 Jun 40, 
sub: 1941 Proc Program. Legal Div file, Directives, 
1940-41. (2) HR Doc 950, 76th Cong, 3d Sess, 
National Defense Contracts. 

!S For a detailed discussion of the construction of 
facilities for the Ordnance Department, see Fine 
and Remington, |The Corps of Engineers \ Con- 
struction in the United States. 



With these facts in mind the Engineers 
decided to keep procurement centralized in 
the Procurement Branch of the Supply Sec- 
tion, OCE, although mobilization plans 
called for other administrative arrange- 
ments. In its civil works divisions and its 
district offices the Corps of Engineers pos- 
sessed an extensive field organization which 
it believed would prove of great assistance 
in case the procurement load became un- 
manageable from Washington. In wartime 
the civil works program would shrink and 
personnel of the districts, experienced in the 
handling of government business, would be- 
come available to the procurement organi- 
zation. In peacetime the Engineers main- 
tained a procurement planning district in 
six of their district offices. Each manned by 
one officer and a clerk, the procurement 
planning districts had done much of the 
preparatory work in connection with the 
allocation of facilities. Mobilization plans 
stipulated the decentralization of purchas- 
ing to these six districts whose staffs would 
be expanded with personnel transferred 
from civil works and which would be super- 
vised by Reserve officers especially trained 
for such duties. Even though procurement 
remained centralized in Washington the 
civil works districts and the procurement 
planning districts participated in the cur- 
rent program to some extent. The procure- 
ment planning districts sought out addi- 
tional facilities and the civil works districts 
performed inspections required before ac- 
ceptance of a product. In OCE the Procure- 
ment Branch handled the bulk of the work- 
load. 24 

The Procurement Branch believed that 
most of the contracts to be let under the 
Munitions Program of 30 June 194-0 could 
be advertised, but proposed to negotiate 

whenever possible and whenever to the gov- 
ernment's advantage. 25 The decision to con- 
tinue the use of competitive bidding wher- 
ever feasible was in perfect accord with the 
policies announced by OASW, which noti- 
fied the services on 2 July that "the author- 
ity to purchase without advertising will be 
resorted to only in cases where that method 
of procurement is essential to expedite the 
accomplishment of the defense program." 
When negotiation was resorted to, it should 
be preceded by solicitation of informal bids. 
Negotiated contracts amounting to $500,- 
000 or more had to be submitted to the As- 
sistant Secretary of War for approval; the 
supply services were to set up appropriate 
safeguards for controlling the award of con- 
tracts of lesser amounts. 26 In order to speed 
up the placement of orders within the com- 
petitive bidding system the Procurement 
Branch reduced the time allowed between 
advertising and awards to a maximum of 
ten days. 27 

On 8 July, with $25,000,000 available 
from the regular appropriation, the Supply 
Section announced its intention to let con- 
tracts worth $17,002,266 within the next 
thirty days. All but one, an order for metal- 
lic parts for ponton bridges, would be ad- 
vertised. By early September the Engineers 

H AIC Short Course 3. 

"Memo, ACofEngrs for ASW, 24 Jul 40, sub: 
Proc Plan for Munitions Program of 30 Jun 40. 
470, Pt. 1. 

" Memo, Dir Current Proc OASW for CofEngrs 
et al., 2 Jul 40, sub: Proc Without Advertising. 
160, Pt. 1. 

Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of this 
section is based upon (1) Smith, op. cit., Ch. VII, 
pp. 7-8; (2) AGO file, Wkly Rpts to USW and 
Wkly Status Rpts; (3) Corresp in 160, Pt. 1; 
400.12, Pts. 99-102, 107; 400.12 (S), Pt. 1; 400.13, 
Pt. 3; 400.333, Pt. 1; 400.333, China, Pt. 1; 3820, 
National Defense, Pt. 2; and Denman Personal 
Files, Misc, and Procedure. 



had obligated almost all of their $25,000,- 
000, and another appropriation, for $42,- 
000,000, was approved. Again the Procure- 
ment Branch moved quickly, obligating 
more than $19,500,000 by the middle of the 

Of the approximately $44,000,000 ob- 
ligated, more than $16,000,000 went into 
orders for searchlights in contracts negoti- 
ated with the two available suppliers, Sperry 
Gyroscope and General Electric. One other 
contract in the group let at this time, with 
the W. & L. E. Gurley Company for transits, 
was negotiated. A little over $2,000,000 in 
contracts for ponton bridge parts and road 
graders was advertised. Excluding contracts 
amounting to less than $100,000, the Engi- 
neers had obligated by the end of January 
1941 over $23,500,000 through advertise- 
ment and over $30,500,000 through nego- 
tiation. Searchlights absorbed over 50 
percent of the total spent under each type of 
contract. Of the major items contracted for 
during this period six were bought ex- 
clusively through competitive bidding, 
eleven by direct negotiation, and seven in 
part after bidding and in part through 
negotiation. In accordance with the instruc- 
tions of the Assistant Secretary of War the 
Procurement Branch tried to retain as much 
competition as possible. Thus before the 
negotiation of a contract the branch sought 
informal bids from companies who could 
be expected to respond to advertisement. 28 

Even when contracts were advertised it 
was possible through a skillful wording of 
specifications to restrict the bids received 
to those manufacturers whose products were 
preferred, and the Supply Section did this 
on occasion. Carryall scrapers are a case in 
point. The Development Branch wrote 

specifications for scrapers so that only two 
manufacturers — R. G. LeTourneau, Inc., 
and La Plant-Choate Company — could 
meet them. When the Bucyrus-Erie Com- 
pany, a newcomer to the scraper market, 
protested, the chief of the Development 
Branch noted the poor quality of some 
scrapers offered in the commercial market. 
Relaxation of the specifications in order to 
allow Bucyrus-Erie to bid would force the 
Procurement Branch into the undesirable 
position of accepting bids from a good many 
other, less competent, manufacturers. 28 

Writing restrictive specifications was a 
deviation from an announced policy to 
spread the work. "The majority of the items 
on the munitions program . . . could be 
supplied expeditiously by one or two manu- 
facturers," Kingman informed the Assistant 
Secretary of War. "However, it is planned 
to distribute the load to 2 or 3 of the more 
prominent manufacturers, who are allo- 
cated to the Corps of Engineers and who 
have sufficient capacity to meet the war time 
requirements." 30 During the period July 
1940 through February 1941, major con- 
tracts were placed with thirty suppliers out 
of a list of forty-eight potential ones. Of the 
forty-two separate companies represented 
in the list of potential suppliers, thirty were 
awarded contracts : S1 

" AIC Short Course 3. 

" (1) John Perry Miller, Pricing of Military Pro- 
curements (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1949), pp. 30-32. (2) Memo, C of Dev Br for 
CofEngrs, 13 Oct 41. 413.8, Pt. 10. 

"Memo, ACofEngrs for ASW, 24 Jul 40, sub: 
Proc Plan for Munitions Program of 30 Jun 40. 
470, Pt. 1. 

31 (1) Memo, C of Proc Br for Intel Sec, 18 Jan 
41. Denman Personal File, Misc. (2) Memo, Sup 
Sec for Finance Div, 4 Mar 41, sub: Memo for 
USW ... Re Investigation of Army and Navy 
Proc Opns, with Incls. 3820, National Defense, 
Pt. 2. 



Number oj 

Number Suppliers 

of Poten- Awarded Con- 

tial Sup- tracts Over 

Item pliers $100,000 

Total 48 30 

Earth auger 2 1 

Air compressor 6 2 

Road grader 3 2 

Gasoline hammer 1 1 

Power shovel 7 3 

Trailer 6 6 

Water purification unit 3 1 

Magnifying lens prism stereo- 
scope 1 1 

Magnifying mirror stereo- 
scope 1 1 

Assault boat 4 1 

Steel highway bridge 3 1 

Ponton bridge 

Metal parts 3 3 

Wooden parts 3 3 

Footbridge 3 2 

Searchlight 2 2 

A number of the companies to whom the 
Procurement Branch took its business had 
been allocated to the Corps of Engineers 
under the procurement plans developed by 
OASW. A number had not. The system of 
allocations so painstakingly worked out dur- 
ing the thirties was quietly laid to rest during 
the creeping mobilization that preceded 
Pearl Harbor. As monies were received, all 
the services, the Engineers included, grad- 
ually acquired an interest in a facility 
through the placement of orders. Where one 
service could not utilize all the productive 
capacity available, another service was wel- 
come. Yet there was a marked tendency to 
gravitate toward allocated facilities whose 
product and management were known. 
Patterson credited the procurement plan- 
ning sponsored by him and his predecessors 
for much of the promptness with which the 
services let supply contracts. Procurement 
planning, together with the experience ac- 
cumulated in the supervision of civil works 

and of development projects, goes far to 
explain not only the promptness with which 
the Engineers placed appropriated monies 
under contract but also the confidence 
they displayed in the abilities of their sup- 
pliers to produce on schedule. 32 

Contractors normally filled orders on the 
basis of first come, first served. Under the 
priority system established by the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board on 12 August 1940, 
contractors were to fill orders in any given 
month on the basis of preference ratings. 
Preference or priority ranged from A-l to 
A-10 with an AA reserved for emergency 
use. The A— 1 rating was to be applied to 
critical and essential items needed to com- 
plete the equipment of all active units of 
the Regular Army and National Guard; A- 
2 to critical and essential items to equip the 
1,200,000-man protective mobilization force 
and maintain it for one year; A-5 to critical 
items and A-6 to essential items to equip 
800,000 men and maintain them for four 
months. Under this setup most engineer ar- 
ticles were rated A-l or A-2. At the end of 
October the Procurement Branch reported 
that no difficulties had been encountered in 
connection with priorities. 

Indeed the Engineers had few difficulties 
of any sort. With the receipt of additional 
funds for searchlights for seacoast defenses 
and for the Navy, the Procurement Branch 
had a program of close to $76,500,000 and 
had put about 70 percent of it under con- 
tract by the end of December 1940. 3S The 

32 S, Investigation of the National Defense Pro- 
gram, Hearings, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, Pt. 1, p. 30. 

33 ( 1 ) Ltr, CofEngrs to ASW, 2 Jan 4 1, sub : Wkly 
Rpt. EHD files. (2) Engineer Service Army sums 
allotted to projects other than No. 3 ($4,035,176) as 
shown in Incl, Engr Sv Army Appropriations, with 
Memo, C of Fiscal Br for Dir Purchases and Con- 
tracts OUSW, 17 Dec 41 (400.13, Pt. 3), have 
been subtracted from $80,526,294 as shown in the 
letter cited above. 



most critical items were on order and deliv- 
eries had equaled or exceeded scheduled 

production in nearly all cases. (Table 1 
Three items — gasoline shovels, earth augers, 
and searchlights — were behind schedule. A 
strike had interfered with the production of 
shovels. Technical engineering problems had 
for a time dogged the production of search- 
lights. The essential fact was that troops in 
training had experienced no shortages of 
equipment. Troops were 98 percent 
equipped, General Schley estimated in 
January 1941. 

Although the Engineer procurement pro- 
gram continued to be small, during the 
calendar year 1941 it became more compli- 
cated. After the passage of the Lend-Lease 
Act in March 1941 the Engineers began to 
purchase supplies for Great Britain and 
China. In January the first of several task 
forces moved out to one of the Atlantic 
bases that had been acquired from Great 
Britain. As the year wore on and more task 
forces occupied the defense perimeter the 
demand for power machinery and construc- 
tion materials began to put a strain upon 
engineer supply. In January 1941 the War 
Department decided to ask immediately for 
funds to cover that part of the Munitions 
Program heretofore included in the budget 
for fiscal year 1942. The Engineers received 
$18,674,000 from the appropriation act 
passed in April. That same month the Engi- 
neers received their first allocation in the 
amount of $9,707,000 from lend-lease 
funds. By the end of the summer, appro- 
priations for troop equipment had added 
$73,000,000 and lend-lease allotments $13,- 
000,000 to Engineer funds. 34 

The Engineers saw nothing in this situa- 
tion that called for the decentralization of 

procurement activities. So far the Supply 
Section in Washington had been *~ ire than 
equal to the job. It should prove capable of 
being so in the foreseeable future. Naturally 
some minor administrative changes had to 
be made. In April the Requirements Branch 
established a small organization to take care 
of the special problem of lend-lease. But 
while the Washington office handled the 
bulk of the work, the Procurement Branch 
called increasingly on the civil works dis- 
tricts to investigate delays in production, to 
look into questions about priorities, in short, 
to expedite. 35 

The Procurement Branch planned to 
award contracts under the April 1941 ap- 
propriation in much the same way it had 
handled previous programs, by a combina- 
tion of advertising and negotiation. But 
when the month of June arrived with a sub- 
stantial amount of money still to be obli- 
gated, advertising was temporarily aban- 
doned. For the first time the Procurement 
Branch resorted to the use of letter contracts, 
which were informal instruments authoriz- 
ing the contractor to go ahead, with the 
guarantee of his expenses for a certain 
amount of preliminary work. Letter con- 
tracts did not replace formal contracts but 
served as another short cut pending the exe- 
cution of a formal contract which, even if 
negotiated, consumed valuable time. By 
such expedients the Procurement Branch 
succeeded in obligating practically all of the 
funds allocated to purchases for the Ameri- 

34 ( 1) Conn and Fairchild, op. cit., Ch. Ill, p. 34. 
(2) Memo, WD Budget Off for CofEngrs, 24 Jan 
41, sub: Supplemental Estimate FY 1941. Rqmts 
Br file, Budget Off. 

85 Memo, C of Sup Sec for Cs of Brs Sup Sec, 29 
Apr 41, sub: Procedure for Purch Under Defense 
Aid Supplemental Appropriation Act, 1941. Intnl 
Div file, 400.12-400.13. 



Table 1 — Status of Major Items of Engineer Procurement Program: 

31 December 1940 


Construction Machinery 

Angledozer * 

Auger, earth 

Compressor, air 

Grader, road 

Hammer, paving breaker 

Mixer, concrete 

Shove], gasoline, %-cubic yard 

Special equipment, engineer aviation battalion. 
Welding and cutting set 




Fixed steel, box girder, H-10 

Fixed steel, box girder, H-20 


Ponton, 10-ton 

Ponton, 25-ton 

Mapping Equipment 

Compass, lensatic 

Reproduction equipment 

Corps Area Headquarters. 

Mobile reproduction train. 




Magnifying mirror 


Water purification units 

900 gallon 

5,000 gallon.... 

Electric lighting equipment, 5 KVA. 



To Be Pro- 
cured Fiscal 
Year 1941 


Cumulative Deliveries as of 
31 December 1940 





289 i 








ay u 







I, 063 

1 f"i/C7 

1, Uoj 




















2, 456 



















113 194 

50, 000 



V. / 

( b ) 





( b ) 

( b ) 





2, 450 

2, 450 













1, 870 



"■Procured for the Engineers by the Ordnance Department at ihia time. 
b Data not available. 

Source: Sched of Prod Rates on Critical Items and Status of Engr Equip Required To Meet Time Objective, submitted with Ltr, Sup 
Sec OCE to Prod Br OUSW, 31 Jan 41, sub: Sched of Prod Rates. . . . Special Collection Subsec of Hist Div WD Special Staff file, OUSW 
Plan Br 381, Time Objectives. 



can Army before the close of the fiscal 
year. 36 

The branch failed, however, to make 
much headway with the program for the 
British. The Engineers could transfer a few 
items from depot stock. Beyond this they 
had put under contract by midsummer only 
$2,500,000 of the $9,000,000 worth of con- 
struction machinery, bridges, boats, and 
other equipment requisitioned by the 
United Kingdom. By the end of the fiscal 
year 1941 the Engineers had $23,000,000 
in lend-lease funds, $13,000,000 of which 
was for construction materials and rolling 
stock for the Burma-Yunnan Railway. Be- 
tween July and December 1941 they re- 
ceived an additional $56,000,000, most of 
which was for railroad building materials 
and rolling stock for lines in the Middle 
East. By December the Procurement Branch 
had obligated $53,000,000, or 67 percent of 
the total. 37 

The Beginning of Production Problems 

As early as January 1941 the Engineers 
had expressed some uncertainty about the 
future rate of production. Kingman had 
called attention to "an apparent slowing 
trend" in the receipt of certain raw mate- 
rials which the Supply Section feared might 
cause a reduction in the rates of delivery of 
end products. These materials could be 
readily identified by a look at the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board's priority list, he 
wrote the Under Secretary of War, "but 
among other things, a shortage may be ex- 
pected of steel and steel alloy products, 
aluminum sheets, certain qualities of ply- 
wood, and expanded rubber." 38 The Army 
and Navy Munitions Board had by this time 
overhauled the priorities system, which had 
become overcrowded in the A-l category. 

Accordingly, a hierarchy ranging from 
A-l -a to A-l-j was created. Under the new 
ratings engineer items that formerly enjoyed 
an A-l priority with planes and tanks 
dropped to A-l-i or A-l-j. Yet the Engi- 
neers could hardly protest; all the Army 
services were in the same position. The Air 
Corps and the Navy absorbed top priorities. 

What bothered the Engineers and indeed 
all the Army services more than the lower- 
ing of ratings was the fact that the rating 
system did not cover a sufficient number of 
items and raw materials. The civilian agen- 
cies in charge of production — first the 
NDAC and after January 1941 the Office 
of Production Management (OPM) — 
were anxious to preserve the normal flow of 
production to civilians. They sought to 
achieve this result by keeping raw materials 
and components which went into civilian 
products free of the priorities system. Ac- 
cordingly, the ANMB limited the extension 
of ratings to those items or materials ap- 
pearing on the Critical Items List which 
were in general "noncommercial in char- 
acter or type, made in accordance with par- 
ticular military or naval specifications." 
Commercial steel and lumber were offered 

38 (1) Interv, R. L. Pilcher, 26 Oct 50. (2) Ltr, 
M. S. Denman to C of EHD, 18 Jan 51. (3) Memo, 
PC-L-031 (White House), OUSW Actg Dir Pur- 
chases and Contracts for CofAC et al., 31 May 41, 
sub: Obligation of Current Funds, with Incl, Form 
of Ltr Contract. Legal Div file, Memos, OASW and 
OUSW, 1940-42. 

37 Memo, C of Sup Sec for Defense Aid Dtr, 2 
Dec 41, sub: Lease-Lend Rpt. Intnl Div file, 
400.333, Latin America. 

On lend-lease before Pearl Harbor, see Richard 
M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Global Logis- 
tics and Strategy: 1940-1943, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1956), 
pp. 44-45, 76-116. 

38 Memo, Actg CofEngrs for USW, 10 Jan 41, 
sub: Proc Act for the Corps of Engrs Under the 
Various 1941 Appropriations. 400.12, Pt. 102. 



as examples of materials to which preference 
ratings could not be extended. 39 This order 
created situations such as the one described 
by the Buffalo District Engineer : 

Efforts made to accomplish the contracts 
of the Rogers Brothers Corporation . . . 
and the Hanson Clutch and Machinery Com- 
pany . . ., both manufacturing platform 
type trailers, have previously required that 
this office extend preference ratings to sub- 
contractors. Preference ratings have been 
given to items which are normally considered 
commercial items, such as structural steel, 
tires, brakes, etc. . . . Steel mills have in- 
sisted that preference ratings be extended to 
the purchase orders from these companies 
in order that the mills themselves may be 
authorized to give precedence to the contracts. 

The new system failed to make sense to the 
Buffalo representative who pointed out that 
there was "comparatively little commercial 
demand for specialized articles, and because 
of this lack of demand, obtaining delivery 
of special items is seldom difficult, whereas 
industry as a whole demands commercial 
items (structural steel, rubber, etc.), and 
because of the great demand, precedence 
for materials used for defense contracts is 
necessary. This indicates that strict inter- 
pretation of the new priority rulings nulli- 
fies, to a large extent, the underlying 'raison 
d'etre' of the priority system." 40 The Sup- 
ply Section registered its alarm over the new 
policy to the ANMB in February and again 
in April, and asked that the restriction be 
lifted. 41 The Army was wholeheartedly in 
favor of lifting the restriction. All the serv- 
ices had experienced similar difficulties and 
entered similar protests. Gradually the 
OPM retreated. As of 1 May the services 
could extend ratings to nearly all the 
standard nonferrous metals and to iron and 
steel. By the fall of 1941 OPM had agreed 
to allow extensions to all materials that were 

physically incorporated in the product. By 
this time, the priorities system itself had un- 
dergone yet another overhauling which 
lifted all military orders into the A-l-a to 
A-l-j categories and placed limitations on 
the amounts to be produced in each cate- 
gory. 42 Although the new rating structure 
was a step forward it did not get at the root 
of the problem, which was a rapidly develop- 
ing shortage of raw materials. The Under 
Secretary of War had to call upon OPM 
to intervene in order to obtain steel for 
searchlight trailers. The priority rating on 
optical glass had to be raised in order to ob- 
tain delivery of stereoscopes. Substitutes for 
aluminum had to be made whenever pos- 
sible. 43 "Until such time as by joint com- 
mand decision the War and Navy 
Departments establish a military priority for 
ponton bridges on the same level of im- 
portance as that which has been established 
for aircraft," the ANMB Priorities Com- 
mittee informed the Supply Section, "it is 
believed realistic to face the fact that in all 
probability aluminum will no longer be 
available for the production of ponton 
bridges." 44 The Engineer Board duly wrote 

" (1) Smith, op. cit., Ch. VIII, pp. 36-37. (2) 
C/L (Finance 1), 4 Jan 41. 

" Ltr, Buffalo Dist Engr to CofEngrs, 13 Jan 41, 
sub: Priorities Instructions. 3820, National Defense, 
Pt. 1. 

u (1) Ltr, C of Sup Sec to USW, 28 Feb 41, 
sub: Rev of Priority Critical Item List. 400.12, Pt. 
103. (2) Ltr, C of Sup Sec to ANMB Priorities 
Comm, 12 Apr 41, sub: Changes in Priorities Criti- 
cal List. Denman Personal File, Misc. 

"Smith, op. cit., Ch. VIII, pp. 37-39, 51-71. 

43 (1) Memo, Gen Rutherford for USW, 27 Jun 
41, sub: Trailers. USW file, Misc and Subject 
Steel Through Dec. (2) Ltr, Dir Prod Br OUSW 
to CofEngrs, 24 May 41, sub: Optical Glass for 
Stereoscopes. 400.12, Pt. 105. (3) Memo, Plan Br 
OUSW for CofEngrs et al, 7 Jul 41. Legal Div file, 
Directives Tanney, 1940-41. 

** 1st Ind, ANMB Priorities Comm to Control 
Off OCE, 2 Aug 41 (basic missing). 417, Pt. 10. 



specifications for steel pontons despite their 
excessive weight, and despite the fact that 
many signs pointed toward a steel shortage. 45 
In August 1941 the Engineers reported a 
slight slippage in total deliveries : 

Of the 54 items in the expenditure program 
deliveries were scheduled on only 21 items 
and were received on 18. At the beginning 
of the month 10 items were behind schedule 
and 6 were ahead, while at the close of the 
month 12 were behind and only 3 ahead. . . . 

The materiel provided by the Fifth Supple- 
mental Appropriation Act was scheduled to 
come into production in a large number of 
cases in July but in some instances no deliver- 
ies were received. With these new contracts 
the Engineers are beginning to run into 
priority trouble in that the suppliers are un- 
able to get the raw material and parts required 
because of the higher priority of other services 
and suppliers. This is a situation which did 
not prevail a number of months ago when 
earlier contracts were filled without difficulty. 

Yet the Engineers preferred to look for the 
silver lining. The program was "well along." 
Troop units had nearly all of their author- 
ized equipment on hand. Statistics therefore 
might be deceptive because "from a military 
viewpoint the picture is very bright in that 
the initial requirements have been ob- 
tained." M The argument was true as far 
as it went. The goals of the Munitions Pro- 
gram were being met. But the over-all pic- 
ture was not bright because the Munitions 
Program had made practically no provision 
for emergency stocks. The $1,716,400 left 
the Corps from its $15,000,000 estimate for 
Rainbow 4 had been obligated, largely upon 
the advice of the War Plans Division of the 
General Staff, for portable buildings, water 
purification units, portable evaporators, and 
machine gun emplacements. The slim mar- 
gin on which the Engineers were operating 
became apparent as soon as emergency 
needs cropped up. In May 1941 Brigadier 

J. F. M. Whiteley came to the United States 
with an urgent plea for supplies for the be- 
leaguered British in the Middle East. When 
the General Staff assigned top priority to 
filling requirements on the "Whiteley List" 
the Supply Section discovered that deliveries 
to the British would cause some delay in 
equipping United States troops. 47 

Other emergencies likewise called for 
emergency measures as Engineer troops left 
for Alaska, Newfoundland, and Iceland. 
Bulldozers and dump trucks had to be trans- 
ferred from the 18th Engineer Regiment 
stationed at Vancouver Barracks, Washing- 
ton, to the 32d Engineer Company stationed 
at Fort Richardson, Alaska. On 29 August, 
the Operations and Training Section requi- 
sitioned five bulldozers and three carryall 
scrapers for delivery at the New York Port 
of Embarkation in twelve days. Stevedoring 
equipment, structural timber and connec- 
tions, rope tackle, power distribution equip- 
ment, a water supply system, and 
miscellaneous construction materials were 
requisitioned on 29 June to be available for 
shipment between 29 July and 14 Septem- 
ber. Money was no problem, since the Engi- 
neers received special funds for this purpose. 
Approximately $3,000,000 was transferred 
from the Construction Section to the Supply 
Section between 25 June and 10 September 
1941 for the Iceland task force alone. But 
the confusion that Silkman had predicted if 
the Engineers were not allowed an emer- 
gency stockpile was fast becoming part of 
the daily routine. In order to get supplies 

"Engr Bd Hist Study, Medium Floating Bridg- 
ing, 14 Jan 46, pp. 49-50. 

45 Stat Br OUSW, Wkly Stat Rpt 6, Sec. 3, 9 
Aug 41. QM-Engr-Med Wkly Stat Rpt 6. 

" (1) Leighton and Coakley, op. cit., pp. 91-92. 
(2) Memo, C of Sup Sec for C of Defense Aid Sec, 
1 Jul 41, sub: Proc of Items on Whitely List. Intnl 
Div file, 400.333. 



out on schedule the Supply Section was 
sending equipment direct from factory to 
port. When sailing schedules changed, 
equipment piled up at the dock. When fac- 
tories could not make deliveries in time the 
Supply Section drew upon small stocks 
stored for training purposes. This practice 
so depleted depot stocks that by late August 
1941 the War Department directed field 
army commanders to cut down on training 
requisitions. Largely because of the higher 
priorities accorded to the defense build-up 
in these areas close to the United States, to 
equipping troop units, and to lend-lease, 
OCE could not begin to consider urgent re- 
quests from the Philippines until the fall of 
1941. Support from the States failing, the 
Engineers in the islands exploited local re- 
sources to the utmost in a feverish attempt 
to provide airfields and other facilities for 
their defense. What was gathered together 
proved far from sufficient for that formid- 
able task. And when the actual defense of 
the Philippines began, Engineer supplies, 
like those of the rest of the Army, were 
pitifully meager. 48 

On 1 7 June Schley entered a new plea to 
purchase a small stockpile of special equip- 
ment — "a minimum," in his words, "which 
should be procured and stored at once near 
a port of embarkation." This time G— 4 ap- 
proved the request. In the supplemental 
appropriation bill passed in August the Engi- 
neers received a minimum, $2,800,000, for 
this purpose. 48 Meanwhile Kingman lodged 
an additional plea with the General Staff: 

Our ports of embarkation are set up with 
a view to securing a continuous flow, and are 
unable to provide storage for any considerable 
time pending overseas shipment, Since fac- 
tories cannot deliver supplies on prearranged 
schedules, storage difficulties will arise if pur- 
chases are made for delivery direct from fac- 
tories to ports. Moreover, delivery of many 

kinds of Engineer supplies cannot be secured 
on short notice. It is, therefore, necessary that 
a reasonable quantity of Engineer supplies 
be purchased well in advance for delivery at 
interior Engineer depots and then shipped 
direct in proper quantity and kind to ports 
of embarkation as required. 

Specifically he requested a directive to cover 
engineer operations in the field for task 
forces and emergency projects. 50 

Agreeing that a stockpile containing "a 
reasonable quantity" of supplies was "desir- 
able," G-4 directed the preparation of an 
estimate based on two infantry divisions, 
one operating under arctic and the other 
under tropical weather conditions, and one 
corps operating under either tropical or tem- 
perate weather conditions. On this basis 
Kingman requested an immediate allotment 
of $5,250,000. Funds were not available, 
the General Staff replied on 10 October. 
Engineer needs must be met through the 
next supplemental appropriation bill where 
provision had been made (on 27 Septem- 
ber) for the inclusion of funds to purchase 
balanced stocks of construction materials 
and equipment that would be needed in Ice- 

48 (1) Ltr, Engr Fourth Army to CofEngrs, 14 
Jul 41, sub: Constr Equip for Alaska, with Incls. 
400.31, 32d Engrs. (2) Memo, AC of O&T Sec 
for Actg C of Sup Sec, 30 Aug 41, sub: Purch of 
Tractors and Carryalls. 451.3, Pt. 6. (3) Memo, C 
of Fortifications Sec for C of Sup Sec, 29 Jun 41, 
sub: Purch of Constr Mat for TofOpns. 381, Indi- 
go (S). (4) Ltr, Actg CofEngrs to Stat Br OUSW, 
10 Sep 41, sub: Wkly Rpt. EHD files. (5) Corresp 
in 400.31, Pt. 4. (6) Dod, Engineers in the War 
Against Japan, Ch. II. 

"(1) Ltr, CofEngrs to TAG, 17 Jun 41, sub: 
Engr Equip and Supplemental Request To Meet 
Demands of War Plans. P&T Div file, 381, Rain- 
bow, Folio 1. (2) Memo, Actg ACofS G-4 for CofS, 
20 Jun 41, sub: Engr Equip and Supplemental 
Request To Meet Demands of War Plans. G-4 file 
31604-3 (S). (3) S, First Supplemental National 
Defense Appropriation Bill for 1942, Hearings, 77th 
Cong, 1st Sess, p. 112. 

50 Memo, ACofEngrs for CofS, 26 Jul 41, sub: 
Directive for Engr Rqmts. 400.31, Pt. 4. 



Table 2 — Status of Major Items of Engineer Procurement Program: 

20 December 1941 


Current Program 

Cumulative Deliveries ae of 
20 December 1941 

Fi$Cal Years 

1941 & 1942 




Construction Machinery 









Compressor, air 







1 ("17Q 

i, u/y 

i n70 

Mixer, concrete 






Shovel, gasoline, %-cubic yard ._ 













Special equipment, engineer aviation battalion 









Welding and cutting set 



1 Ol 




Assault-. - - - _ 


3, 446 

3, 446 

3, 446 

Power, with trailer _ . _ _ . 






Fixed steel, box girder, H-10 





Fixed steel, box girder, H-20 . _ . . ._ _ 





Crane, truck mounted __ . _ „_ 





Footbridge _. _ _ 





Ponton, 10-ton . .. . 





Ponton, 25-ton 





Trestle, steel.- - 





Mapping Equipment 

Camera, copying _ - . _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 





Reproduction equipment 

Corps Area Headquarters 





Lithographic, platoon 



i 2 


Mobile reproduction train . . - 





Motorized. . ... 





Stereocomparagraph. _ . ._ ... _ ... . 






Lens, prism. __ __ .__ 





Magnifying mirror ______ . _ _ 



2, 243 


Theodolite ...... ... 







Table 2- — Status of Major Items of Engineer Procurement Program: 
20 December 1941 — Continued 

] tern 

Current Program 

Cumulative Deliveries as of 
20 December 19+1 

A ppropriated 
Fiscal Years 
1941 & 1942 





Water purification units 

900 gallon 





5,000 gallon 





Electric lighting equipment 

5 KVA 





3 KVA 








2, 261 



24-inch ._ _ . ...... 









Tilting trailer for _. _ _ ._ .... _ ... . 





Source OUSW Stat Br, Wkly Stat Rpt 25, Sec. 3, CE, 20 Dec 41. QM-Eng-Med Wkly Stat Rpt 25 (C). 

land, Alaska, Newfoundland, Greenland, 
and the Philippines, and for the 1st Division 
Task Force in the event of its involvement 
in combat. The Engineers put in for approx- 
imately $15,000,000 in the estimates for the 
third supplemental bill, but the attack on 
Pearl Harbor occurred before its passage. 
The Engineers were caught without a single 
crawler tractor or square foot of landing 
mat in reserve. 51 

Yet the Engineers had more than met the 
War Department's objective, stated in 
October, of initial equipment for 1,418,000 
men by the end of December. With $49,- 
000,000 still unobligated, the Procurement 
Branch had let contracts for practically all 
engineer items, both essential and critical, 
for a force of 1,725,000 and by the end of 
November had received deliveries of 87 per- 
cent of this equipment. 52 

The status of forty-three key items was 
similarly encouraging. (Table 2) No con- 

tract had yet been let for timber saws or for 
18x1 8-inch duplicating equipment. On the 
other hand, contracts for steel trestle bridges, 
J/j-yard gasoline shovels, and special avia- 
tion equipment would eventually provide 

" ( 1 ) Memo, Actg ACofS G-4 for CofS, 5 Aug 
41, sub: Directive for Engr Rqmts. AG 400.312 
(11) 7-26-41 (1) Directive for Engr Rqmts. (2) 
Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs, 9 Aug 41, same sub, 400.31, 
Pt, 4. (3) Ltr, ACofEngrs to ACofS G-4, 7 Oct 41, 
sub: Rqmts for Engr Opns in the Fid. Rqmts Br 
file, Gen Staff G-4, with 1st Ind, 10 Oct 41 (400.31, 
Pt. 5). (4) Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs, 6 Oct 41, sub: 
Funds for Projects Which Indicate Early Involve- 
ment in Combat, with Incl. O&T Sec file, 381, Gen 
Folio 6 (S). (5) H, Third Supplemental National 
Defense Appropriation Bill for 1942, Hearings, 77th 
Cong, 1st Sess, Pt. 2, p. 137. (6) Logistics in World 
War II, Final Rpt of ASF, 1947. 

" (1) Ltr, CofEngrs to Stat Br OUSW, 3 Dec 
41, sub: Wkly Rpt. EHD files. (2) Stat Br OUSW, 
Wkly Stat Rpt 24, Sec 3. QM-Engr-Med Wkly 
Stat Rpts. (3) Ltr, Dir Prod Br OUSW to Cof- 
Engrs, 7 Oct 41, sub: Time Objectives. WD 
Records Br Special Collection Subsec of Hist Div 
WD Special Staff File, OUSW Plan Br 381, Time 



for a 3,200,000-man Army. Deliveries of 
twenty-nine articles were either completed 
or on schedule. Twelve were behind: por- 
table water purification units, both 3 and 5 
KVA electric lighting equipment, magnify- 
ing mirror stereoscopes, motorized copying 
cameras, H-10 portable steel bridges, 25- 
ton ponton bridges, footbridges, truck 
mounted cranes, 60-inch searchlights, 24- 
inch beach defense searchlights, and tilting 
trailers. All activated antiaircraft regiments, 
however, had their allowances of 60-inch 
searchlights and new deliveries were for re- 
placements and warehouse stocks. Produc- 
tion of searchlight trailers, delayed for 
months, was at last catching up — for the 

last week of November, for example, 700 
were delivered against a monthly schedule 
of 580. 53 The new Chief of Engineers, Maj. 
Gen. Eugene Reybold, summed up the pro- 
curement situation with satisfaction. "All 
existing troop units have been furnished 
practically all items of Engineer organiza- 
tional equipment. In addition, small 
amounts for maintenance incident to train- 
ing are stocked in depots." ** 

sa WD G— 4, Expenditure Program Pertaining to 
First Supplemental National Defense Appropria- 
tion for FY 1942, 25 Aug 41. 

"Ltr, CofEngrs to ACofS G-4, 24 Dec 41, sub: 
Proc Program. Mil Sup and Proc Fiscal Liaison 
Office file, Supplemental Estimate D, FY 1942, 
Equip I. 


Converting to a Citizen Corps 

Of all the elements that make up an army 
the most essential and yet the most variable 
is the human one. At the outbreak of war 
in Europe the United States Army was com- 
posed of a small core of professional soldiers 
in the Regular Army and a group of semi- 
professionals in the National Guard and Of- 
ficers Reserve Corps. With these forces, 
augmented by voluntary enlistments, the 
War Department planned to have a million 
men ready to fight within six months after 
the beginning of an emergency. In case of a 
full-scale mobilization the War Department 
contemplated the creation of a citizen army 
of four million men. In the two years follow- 
ing the invasion of Poland, the Army more 
than reached its initial objective of one mil- 
lion men. At the same time it changed from 
a professional to a citizen army. The transi- 
tion was not a simple one. Since most re- 
cruits had had no previous military 
experience they had to be trained from 
scratch in the art of warfare. Yet in view 
of the increasing dependence of branches 
like the Engineers on mechanical equip- 
ment, those citizen soldiers with industrial 
skills could be considered partially trained. 
The creation of an effective fighting force 
depended in large part on the proper utiliza- 
tion of such men and their integration with 
the professionals and semiprofessionals to 
form efficient operating units. 

The Nucleus 

On 30 June 1939 there were 786 Engi- 
neer officers and 5,790 Engineer enlisted 
men in the Regular Army. Most of the of- 
ficers were assigned to OCE, civil works dis- 
tricts, Reserve Officers Training Corps 
(ROTC) units, or sundry tasks in the War 
Department. Little more than a fourth of 
them were on duty with troops in the field. 
Although the primary source of their com- 
missions was the United States Military 
Academy, many had obtained Regular 
Army commissions by appointment from 
civil life or after service as reservists. 1 

The Engineers considered all new officers, 
whatever their background, only partly 
trained. The basic education of an Engineer 
officer became complete only after two years 
with troops, a year of graduate work at a 
civilian engineering school, nine months at 
the Engineer School, and two years on rivers 
and harbors duty. 2 Circumstances did not 
always permit this program to be followed in 
prescribed sequence, but OCE frowned 

1 (1) Ann Rpt OCE, 1939. (2) Memo, ACof- 
Engrs of ACofS G-l, 12 May 39. 310.3, Engrs 
Corps of, Pt. 15. (3) Rpt, Distr of Commissioned 
Pers— RA Active List, 30 Jun 39. Same file. 

J ( 1 ) Info Bull 6, 16 Mar 38, sub: New Appoint- 
ments in CE. (2) Memo, CofEngrs for ACofS G-3, 
5 Apr 39, sub: Additional Offs for ROTC Duty. 
210.64, Pt. 1. (3) Memo, ACofEngrs for C of Pers 
Sec, 25 Jan 40, sub: Six Year Tng Program for 
Offs. 210.4, Pt. 1. 



1 J. 



Belvoir, Va. 

upon deviations from it, as the following 
reaction toward Rhodes scholarships shows : 

It has been the observation of this office and 
of the faculty of the Engineer School that 
although the three year course at Oxford Uni- 
versity undoubtedly has a cultural value it 
nevertheless delays by that amount the essen- 
tial training of an officer. It has been noted 
that the Rhodes scholars usually stand near 
the bottom of their class in the Engineer 
School and that their Oxford training appears 
in large measure to have neutralized the 
splendid training previously received at West 
Point. 3 

The Engineers were concerned first and last 
with the technical competence of their 

The 5,790 enlisted men in the Corps in 
June 1939 were volunteers, many of whom, 
especially among the noncommissioned of- 

ficers in the top grades, had been in the 
Army for many years. Except for some three 
hundred on duty at the Engineer School or 
scattered among corps area and department 
headquarters they were members of troop 
units. During the thirties most of the en- 
listed men were jacks-of-all-trades admi- 
rably equipped for the varied duties per- 
formed by the divisional units which made 
up the bulk of the engineer component of 
the Army. By 1939 the background of a 
good many recruits had changed. They were 
younger, had more formal education, but, 
as a result of the unemployment of the 
thirties, had acquired fewer skills. 4 

3 Liaison Ind, Kingman to TAG, 1 1 Oct 38, on 
Liaison Memo from AGO, 7 Oct 38. EHD files. 

4 O&T Office Study 160. EHD files. 



The engineer Regular Army units had a 
dual function — operations and training. All 
of them devoted much time to road build- 
ing, construction of simple structures, or 
landscape gardening. Some helped instruct 
Reserves at summer camps or tested new 
techniques and equipment. Others had more 
specific tasks at overseas bases or Army 
schools. Such work hindered systematic 
training. Even though troop units were small 
and few in number (there were only twelve 
of them in 1939) shortages of equipment, 
particularly modern equipment, forced of- 
ficers to improvise and to simulate some 
aspects of training. As a consequence, field 
exercises were distorted and unrealistic. 5 

The Army tried to compensate for this 
imperfect unit training by emphasizing the 
schooling of individuals. Engineer units con- 
ducted courses to qualify men as construc- 
tion foremen, demolitions experts, electri- 
cians, and carpenters. Officers broadened 
their knowledge at general service schools, 
the Command and General Staff School, 
and the Army Industrial College, but for 
special training the Army relied mainly upon 
special service schools within each branch. 
The backbone of the training program at 
the Engineer School was a nine-month 
course for Regular Army officers. Instruction 
covered organization of the Army and of 
the Corps of Engineers, military history, mo- 
bilization problems, training management, 
principles of command and logistics, equita- 
tion, tactics of the Engineers and of associ- 
ated arms, mapping, fortifications, and 
construction. All officers were expected to 
take this course. Three technical courses in 
the most complicated duties of engineer 
soldiers were offered to key enlisted men 
selected for attendance: electricity, motors, 
and water purification; surveying, drafting, 
and aerial photographic mapping; and map 

reproduction and photography. The Engi- 
neer School had a capacity for about forty 
officers and about fifty-five enlisted students. 
Administration, instruction, and caretaking 
were carried on by about eighteen officers 
and a group of 2 1 5 enlisted men who formed 
the school detachment. Because of their low 
grades and ratings, enlisted instructors 
sought and received offers of better positions 
with other organizations. The resulting 
turnover in personnel, coupled with inade- 
quate facilities, hampered the school's pro- 
gram. Although individuals who attended 
went away better equipped to perform their 
military duties, the school could not entirely 
make up for the shortcomings that existed 
in the field. 6 

With such typical deficiencies in training, 
manpower, and equipment, the Army of the 
thirties did not present a very formidable 
fighting force. After war broke out in 
Europe the War Department, in an effort 
to improve the state of preparedness, began 
a limited reorganization and expansion. For 
the Engineers an immediate effect was the 
demand for more officers with troops, a need 
that was met by transferring a number of 
officers from civil works districts and by 
compressing the course at the Engineer 
School into one semester. Regulars who 

* (1) Ann Rpt OCE, 1939. (2) Info Bull 9, 25 
Jul 38, sub: Unit Tng. (3) Tng Memo 52, Hq 5th 
Engrs, 26 Oct 38, sub: Tng Program, 1 Nov 38-31 
Oct 39. 353, Pt. 14. 

6 (1) Bull cited n. 5 (2). (2) 2d Ind, Comdt Engr 
Sch to CofEngrs, 27 Jun 38, Incl, with 1st Ind, 
Comdt Engr Sch to CofEngrs, 8 Nov 38, on Ltr, 
ExO Mil Div to Comdt Engr Sch, 5 Nov 38, sub: 
RA Offs 1939-40 Course at Engr Sch. 210.3, Engr 
Sch, Pt. 3. (3) 1st Ind, Hq Engr Sch to CofEngrs, 
8 Jul 39, on Ltr, AC of O&T Sec to Comdt Engr 
Sch, 6 Jul 39, sub: Capacity of Enl Spec Sch. 
352.4, Engr Sch. (4) Personal Ltr, Capt C. T. 
Hunt, CO Engr Sch Det, to Kingman, 3 Jan 40. 
Loose Corresp, 1940. (5) Ltr, Hunt to CO Ft. 
Belvoir, 25 Jan 40, sub: Increased Grades and 
Ratings for Engr Sch Det. Same file. 



would normally have been tied up at the 
school were assigned to troop units and their 
places filled by National Guard and Re- 
serve officers who needed a brush-up course 
prior to field duty. But it was within troop 
units themselves rather than at the school 
that the major adjustments to the expansion 
were made. 7 

Old units provided new units with cadres. 
Thus the 1st Engineer Regiment sent ex- 
perienced men to the 1st Engineer Battalion, 
the 27th Engineer Battalion, the 70th Light 
Ponton Company, and the Headquarters 
Company, 18th Engineer Regiment. Even 
the 4th Engineers which consisted of but a 
single company gave up twenty-four men. 
Such transfers insured the mingling of 
seasoned troops with recruits and distri- 
buted the training load. 8 

In 1935 OCE had prepared a 16-week 
mobilization training program (MTP) for 
emergencies and during the summer of 1939 
had made a hurried revision to delete train- 
ing in animal transportation, to change 
text references, and to increase the time al- 
lotted to defense against tanks and other 
vehicles. Although the MTP of 1939 was 
devised for the combat regiment, other types 
of units were expected to use it as a guide. 
More than half of the program's 640 hours 
was to be devoted to training in military 
engineering, about one sixth to drills, 
marches, and other basic and disciplinary 
subjects, and the remainder to marks- 
manship and tactical exercises such as 
scouting and patrolling. 9 

Few units had time to follow this 
schedule. As station areas were enlarged, 
engineer troops became involved in survey- 
ing sites, laying out tent camps, pulling up 
stumps, installing utilities, and building 
roads. At Fort Benning, the 21st General 

Service Regiment spent its 1939 Christmas 
holidays erecting a tent camp for armored 
units. At Camp Jackson, the 6th Engineers 
built and repaired combat ranges and took 
over construction of a hospital, about 
twenty mess halls, and other buildings. Good 
practice in construction, certainly, but 
hardly varied enough to create a balanced 
engineer soldier. Equipment, like personnel, 
had to be shared. The 21st Engineers had 
little but hand tools when it started build- 
ing the camp for armored units. Most of the 
equipment of the 4th Engineers was five 
years old and needed replacing. Often 
troops had to borrow power machinery 
from the Quartermaster or the WPA. 
Nearly all units complained of an acute 
shortage of vehicles. If not in short supply, 
vehicles were usually run-down. 10 

The meagerness of equipment and lack 
of opportunity for realistic training that 
plagued the Regular Army existed in an 
exaggerated degree in National Guard units, 
the first line of reserve strength. In June 
1939 there were 487 officers, 17 warrant 
officers, and 5,380 enlisted men in the engi- 
neer component of the National Guard; a 
year later, 569 officers, 18 warrant officers, 
and 10,191 enlisted men. National Guard 
units were controlled and administered 
largely by the states. Practices were there- 
fore not uniform, even though units had to 

'Ltr, AG 352 (11-3-38) M-G to CofEngrs, 9 
Nov 39, sub: Modification of Sch Courses. 352.11, 
Pt. 4. 

8 O&T Office Study 160. EHD files. 

• ( 1 ) 1st Ind, ExO Mil Div to Engr Fourth 
Corps Area, 1 Feb 39, on Ltr, Actg Engr Fourth 
Corps Area to CofEngrs, 23 Jan 39, sub: Tng 
Sched for Engr Units for Use Upon Mob. AG file, 
Engrs, 370.93, Mob Engr Ser Nos. 50-Folio 3. (2) 
AG Ltr 381 (9-12-39) P (C) to CofEngrs, 18 Sep 
39, sub: Unit Tng Programs for Mob, with 1st 
Ind, C of O&T Sec to TAG, 12 Oct 39. Same file. 
(3) O&T Office Study 162. EHD files. 

10 O&T Office Studies 160 and 162. EHD files. 



meet standards established by the War De- 
partment and had Regular Army instruc- 
tors. 11 Because of the little time available — 
a few hours weekly and a two-week summer 
camp — such units received but a smattering 
of training. The Engineer School did offer 
two courses each year for National Guard 
personnel. One was a three-month course 
for Guard and Reserve officers that covered 
approximately the same subjects as the nine- 
month course for Regular Army officers. The 
other, for noncommissioned officers, ranged 
over the whole of their duties in a combat 
regiment. But the school's limited facilities 
permitted few to attend. 12 

The occupational backgrounds of Engi- 
neers in the National Guard could not make 
up for lack of modern equipment and hap- 
hazard training. "A regiment is fortunate 
if half its officers are engineers either by edu- 
cation or practice," Schley pointed out re- 
gretfully in September 1939. "Few non- 
commissioned officers are foremen, and 
most of the men do not work with their 
hands in their vocations." 13 Observers at the 
August 1940 maneuvers remarked on the 
Guard's lack of initiative and the failure of 
its officers to make significant contributions 
to organizational theory or tactics. Gallo- 
way of O&T rated National Guard engineer 
units from poor to good in comparison with 
the excellent he accorded Regular engineer 
units. 14 Yet for all its deficiencies, the Na- 
tional Guard was an organized force that 
had had some training. It provided a ready- 
made framework into which the first group 
of selectees could be absorbed, and the War 
Department urged that it be called up as a 
necessary prelude to the draft. The furor 
following the fall of France was to lead at 
the end of August 1940 to Congressional 
authorization for such action and the Na- 

tional Guard was thereafter gradually ab- 
sorbed into the main body of the Army. 

While the National Guard was the first 
line of reserve, another civilian component, 
the Officers' Reserve Corps, was considered 
the major base for a large-scale expansion. 
In the prewar years there were few enlisted 
men in the Reserves. Mobilization plans 
were based on a nucleus of officers around 
which new units could be organized and 
trained. Appointments in the Engineer Of- 
ficers' Reserve Corps were open to men be- 
tween the ages of twenty and thirty who had 
an engineering degree, who had practical 
experience in military drill, and who quali- 
fied in military subjects through examina- 
tion or by taking extension courses. On 30 
June 1939 there were over 8,000 men in the 
Engineer Officers' Reserve Corps, but not all 
were eligible for active duty either because 
of failure to maintain an interest in Reserve 
affairs or because of age. Only about 200 
were directly under the control of the Chief 
of Engineers, the rest being assigned to corps 
area commands. Nevertheless, OCE was ex- 
pected to maintain an interest in their status 
and for all practical purposes determine the 
standards for granting commissions and pro- 
motions. There were 29 ROTC units in 
1939, one third of which had been estab- 
lished since 1935. The Engineers received 

11 Ann Rpts OCE, 1939, 1940. 

12 Programs of Instruction NG and Res Offs 
Course 1940 and NG NCOs and Sgt Instructors 
Course 1939. Incl with Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch to 
TAG, 17 Jun 40, sub: Rot of Opns of Engr Sch 
1939-40. EHD files. 

"Info Bull 31, 26 Sep 39, sub: Extracts From 
Comments on First Army Maneuvers. 

" (1) Personal Ltr, Col G. Van B. Wilkes, Engr 
Second Army, to Godfrey, 3 Sep 40. 354.2, Pt. 7A. 
(2) Rpt, Lt Col J. H, Carruth, Engr Sch, to Comdt 
Engr Sch, 20 Sep 40, sub: First Army Maneuvers, 
Aug 40. 354.2, 315A, Bulky. (3) Ltr, Galloway to 
CofEngrs, 12 Sep 40, sub: Rpt on Third Army 
Maneuvers, Aug 40. 354.2, Pt. 7A. 



600 officers from this source in 1939. By 
1941 the number had jumped to 800. 15 

Although applicants for the last two years 
of ROTC training were supposedly selected 
on the basis of scholastic standing and mili- 
tary aptitude, absolute control of ROTC 
membership was more wishful than real. 
Since civil engineering provided the best 
preparation for construction work, men who 
had majored in this subject were preferred, 
but the number of civil engineering students 
had so sharply declined during the thirties 
that the Engineers were forced to accept 
more graduates from other branches of 
engineering than they wished. Only 16.4 
percent of the officers commissioned from 
ROTC engineer units in 1939 were civil 
engineers. The largest number, 25.5 per- 
cent, were mechanical engineers. 16 

Once commissioned, ROTC graduates 
continued military training under Corps 
Area Engineers aided by officers in the civil 
works districts who had Reserve instruction 
as a secondary duty. From time to time the 
General Staff criticized the Engineer system, 
comparing it unfavorably with that of other 
branches in which officers were assigned ex- 
clusively to Reserve instruction. The Engi- 
neers defended the arrangement on the 
grounds that it enabled them to use their 
small number of Regular Army officers to 
better advantage and argued that it was 
practical in view of the day-to-day contact 
maintained by civil works officers with civil- 
ian engineers who were also Reserve officers. 
Schley's awareness of the criticisms of this 
system probably led him to make Reserve in- 
struction a particular concern. Theoretically, 
he could act only in an advisory capacity, 
but his direct authority over Division and 
District Engineers enabled him to push the 

The primary purpose of Reserve training 

was to ready each officer for a mobilization 
assignment. He was also expected to per- 
form occasional duties in peacetime and to 
qualify for the next higher grade. Extension 
courses prepared by the Engineer School 
and periodic meetings made up his course of 
study. Upon completing a designated block 
of such training a Reserve officer was eligi- 
ble for active duty at a military camp where 
he worked on tactical and administrative 
problems. While these requirements were 
not excessive, certain obstacles stood in the 
way of carrying out the program effectively. 
Its success depended on maintaining the 
reservist's interest. Most officers were as- 
signed positions in specific units, but in rural 
regions it was difficult to assemble them for 
instruction. The bulk of training literature 
was aimed at general units. General train- 
ing, O&T argued, would not only suffice 
for all special units except for topographic, 
camouflage, and railway, but would also 
make officers in such organizations available 
as fillers and loss replacements for the "more 
important" combat and general units. 

In 1939 and 1940 the Engineers began 
to explore new ways to promote interest in 
the Reserves and to improve the quality of 
instruction. Pleas for more training litera- 
ture, particularly literature for special units, 
were met by a concerted effort on the part 
of the Engineer School to bring Reserve in- 
struction abreast of the latest advances in 
tactics and technique. OCE announced it- 
self ready to supply additional Regular offi- 
cers to summer camps. District and Corps 
Area Engineers who were closest to the 
situation offered many suggestions which 

"(1) Ann Rpts OCE, 1935, 1939, 1941. (2) 
Info Bull 22, 11 Feb 39, sub: Engr Res Tng. (3) 
AR 140-5, 17 Jun 41. 

M Memo, G of O&T Sec for CofEngrs, 7 Apr 41, 
sub: Brs of Engineering Represented in ROTC 
Grads. 353, ROTC, Pt. 16. 



OCE summarized and published. Interest 
could be stimulated by social activities and 
by joint meetings with the Society of Ameri- 
can Military Engineers. Experience with 
standard equipment might be obtained 
through association with National Guard 

Meanwhile events forced further changes. 
As the Army expanded, and as personnel in 
civil works districts began to be absorbed in 
the supervision of airfield construction, Dis- 
trict Engineers had less and less time to 
devote to the Reserve. In December 1940, 
OCE recommended that Reserve officers 
take over this job entirely. By then increasing 
numbers of Reserves were being called up 
for extended active duty. 17 

The "Terrific" Expansion 

Furnishing cadres for new units during 
the first nine months of the European war 
had entailed more or less serious dislocations, 
but the adjustments of that period were in- 
significant compared to those required when 
the Army began to expand in earnest. As 
of 30 June 1940 only forty-four Engineer 
Reserve officers had been called to extended 
active duty. There had been a twenty-four- 
man increase in Regular Army officers and 
the number of enlisted men had risen from 
5,790 in June 1939 to 9,973 in June 1940. 
But this was a mere trickle of new men. 
Within the next year the flow turned into 
a raging torrent. 18 

In August 1940 Kingman called atten- 
tion to the "serious deficiency" in engineer 
troops. Particularly lacking were general 
service regiments, topographic companies, 
depot companies, shop companies, and 
dump truck companies. He urged that more 
of these units be activated if there were a 

further build-up of the Army and proposed 
a contingent of 91,000 Engineers, or 7 per- 
cent of a 1,300,000-man Army. By October 
the War Department had authorized 75,000 
Engineers, exclusive of aviation units. In 
view of the 1 ,400,000-man Army then pro- 
jected, engineer troops would comprise but 
5.45 percent, which Kingman contended 
was insufficient. His argument for more en- 
gineer units in the Army, like his arguments 
in justification for more engineers within 
these units, was based on the lessons of the 
war in Europe. Despite Kingman's realiza- 
tion that the authorized expansion to 75,000 
men might overtax existing units since the 
Engineers were already absorbing men twice 
as fast as the Army as a whole, he urged the 
activation of more topographic and camou- 
flage units and called for more Engineers for 
the Air Corps and for armored divisions. 
The General Staff's War Plans Division 
conceded that the existing proportion of 
combat engineer troops in the Army might 
be too small, but wished to abide by existing 
plans pending the completion of an over- 
all study or until the Army took in more 
men. Recognizing that augmentations in 
engineer troops would have to occur at the 
expense of other arms and services, G-3 took 
a similar position. An exception was" to be 
made only in the case of engineer aviation 
units. 19 

Even though Kingman did not obtain 
all the troops he wanted, the Chief of Staff 
announced in April 1941 that the Engineers 
had undergone "one of the most terrific 

" (1) Info Bull 22, 11 Feb 39, sub: Engr Res 
Tng. (2) Info Bull 44, 10 Apr 40, sub: Res Tng. 
(3) Corresp in 353, Organized Res, Pts. 10-12; 
326.02, Pt. 3; and 210.3, Organized Res, Pt. 1. 

18 Ann Rpts OCE, 1940, 1941. 

" (1) 320.2, Pt. 25. (2) 320.2, Engrs Corps of, 
Pt. 12. 



expansions" in the Army. 20 As of June 1939 
the Corps of Engineers comprised 3.3 per- 
cent of the Army; a year later, 4 percent. 
In June 1941 the percentage rose to 5.1 and 
by 31 December 1941 had reached 5.5. 
By September 1941 the Engineers had ad- 
ded 98 units to the 1 2 they had had in June 
1939. In actual numbers the bulk of the 
growth occurred in the fiscal year 1941 
when enlisted strength, fed by the draft, 
climbed from 9,973 to 69,079. The Army 
as a whole increased five and a half times 
in that period ; the Engineers, almost seven- 
fold. 21 

Shortly after passage of the Selective 
Service Act in September 1940, O&T noti- 
fied engineer units that about one third of 
their men would have to be used as cadres 
for new units and for the engineer replace- 
ment training centers that were to go into 
operation the following spring. As adminis- 
trators and instructors of recruits, enlisted 
cadremen had to be noncommissioned of- 
ficer material. In order to assure some sta- 
bility to a unit it was also desirable that they 
be three-year men rather than draftees, who 
were then being called up for only one year. 
Not all units could be evenly pruned. Those 
designated for task forces at overseas bases 
had to be kept in a reasonable state of readi- 
ness. The percentage of three-year men 
within each unit varied therefore with the 
nature of the unit's mission and the com- 
plexity of specialist training. One com- 
manding officer who was fairly hard hit for 
cadremen estimated that two out of every 
three in his organization would be recruits. 22 

The ability of the cadremen to turn the 
incoming tide of citizens into soldiers de- 
pended in large degree on the qualifications 
of the recruits themselves. Conscious of the 
need to put civilian skills and knowledge to 
good use the War Department inaugurated 

a new classification and assignment system 
in the fall of 1 940. One of its two essentials 
was the Army General Classification Test 
(AGCT) which, like other standard tests, 
reflected the individual's social, economic, 
and educational background as well as his 
innate ability. According to their scores on 
this test individuals were placed in one of 
five classes, the highest being designated 
Class I. The other means of classification 
was an analysis of occupational skills. The 
occupational classification system listed 272 
civilian jobs which were directly useful to 
the Army. To each of these a specification 
serial number (SSN) was assigned. At the 
same time the Army listed military jobs 
taken from T/O's and gave each of these 
an SSN. Thus the numbers from 001 to 
272 represented both civilian and military 
jobs. A civilian carpenter and a military 
carpenter had the same SSN. Since the Engi- 
neers had understood that some such ar- 
rangement would be devised they had made 
no provision for training enlisted specialists 
except at the Engineer School and at a few 
selected trade schools. 

Under the classification and assignment 
system the Engineers enjoyed certain theo- 
retical advantages, for of all the branches of 
the Army they required the greatest variety 
of occupational specialists. Although the 
main demand was for carpenters, construc- 
tion foremen, truck drivers, toolroom keep- 
ers, riggers, mechanics, and demolitions 

30 Testimony of General George C. Marshall, 28 
Apr 41. H Comm On Appropriations, Military Es- 
tablishment Appropriation Bill, 1942, Hearings, 
77th Cong, 1st Sess, p. 32. 

a (1) Watson, Chief of Staff, p. 16. (2) Ann Rpts 
OCE, 1939-41. (3) Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, 
Organization of Ground Combat Troops, p. 203. 

23 ( 1 ) Memo, O&T Sec for Brig Gen Clarence L. 
Sturdevant, 19 Feb 41, sub: Distr of Engr Specs 
From ERTC and Three-Year Enl Pers. 327.3, Pt. 1. 
(2) Corresp in 320.2, Pts. 25, 27, 28. 



men, the Engineers needed 9 1 different kinds 
of specialists at a rate of 727 per thousand. 
The Infantry required only 40 different 
specialists at 239 per thousand, the Air 
Corps 71 specialists at 777 per thousand, 
and the Signal Corps 66 specialists at 892 
per thousand. Percentagewise also the Engi- 
neers stood well up on the list. Sixty percent 
of Engineer troops would be specialists, as 
compared with 78 percent of the Air Corps; 
74 percent Finance Department; 69 percent 
Signal Corps; 63 percent Quartermaster 
Corps; 51 percent Ordnance Department; 
48 percent Field Artillery; 47 percent Medi- 
cal Department; 38 percent Coast Artil- 
lery; 28 percent Cavalry; 21 percent Chemi- 
cal Warfare Service; and 21 percent 
Infantry. 23 

The fact that the theoretical correlation 
between civilian and military jobs was not 
always achieved worked considerable hard- 
ship on the Corps of Engineers. The system 
assumed proper classification, but at first 
the Army had few qualified classifiers. After 
being classified, recruits could be kept at 
reception centers only a short time because 
room had to be made for newcomers. From 
the reception center a recruit was assigned 
on a quota basis and frequently there was 
no quota for a specialist of a particular type 
at a particular time. Rarely could the recep- 
tion center hold such an individual until 
the branch that needed him requisitioned 
him. 24 

Recalling that the Corps of Engineers had 
been forced to stand by during World War 
I while other branches received many men 
with engineering experience, Schley 
counseled early and constant vigilance to 
secure qualified selectees. 25 After analyzing 
the process of reception and classification, 
Maj. William W. Bessell, the chief of the 
Personnel Section, concluded : 

The allotment of quotas of each classifica- 
tion of specialists . . . will be based on "oc- 
cupational frequency" or averages computed 
for a division or other Army unit. In other 
words, rather than determine the exact needs 
of a unit in particular Specialists, a "type" 
number is used, much as shoe and clothing 
tariff sizes are used in computing depot needs. 

In the last analysis . . . despite such efforts 
at standardization, the old and familiar "per- 
sonal equation" will dominate the method and 
results of the classification, and the best way 
to insure getting good men for the Engineers 
is to contact the individuals doing the 
classification. 20 

Not a few commanding officers com- 
plained that the first recruits were a disap- 
pointment. One regiment, the 43 d Engi- 
neers, which had secured its men by the 
personal approach, illustrated the wisdom 
of Bessell's method, although it was mani- 
festly impossible on a larger scale. The corps 
area commander had allowed officers from 
the regiment to handpick selectees at the 
reception center. Most of them had "con- 
struction experience or if basic privates, are 
husky country boys," exulted the command- 
ing officer. As the Army's classifiers acquired 
experience other unit commanders who had 

a ( I) MR 1-8, 18 Sep 40. (2) Testimony, Lt Col 
Harry L. Twaddle, 1940. H Comm on Military 
Affairs, Selective Service Compulsory Military 
Training and Service, Hearings, 76th Cong, 3d Sess, 
pp. 93-94. 

The ratio of specialists was, of course, subject 
to change. In January 1943 the Transportation 
Corps required 788 specialists per thousand; the 
Corps of Engineers, 725; Ordnance Department, 
641 ; Signal Corps, 579; Quartermaster Corps, 466. 
Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, Procurement and Train- 
ing of Ground Combat Troops, p. 8. 

21 Roy K. Davenport and Felix Kampschroer, eds., 
Personnel Utilization : Classification and Assign- 
ment of Military Personnel in the Army of the 
U.S. During World War II, September, 1947 
(Rev). MS, OCMH. 

* Memo, Schley for Kingman, 23 Sep 40. 327.3, 
Pt. 1. 

M Draft of Memo, C of Pers Sec (no addressee), 
28 Sep 40, sub: Class of Selectees. 327.3, Pt. 1. 



not resorted to personal interviews expressed 
similar satisfaction with the quality of per- 
sonnel received. 27 

Lacking the educational and vocational 
opportunities of whites, the Negro was want- 
ing in the training and experience which the 
Army used as a basis of classification. Al- 
though Negro strength in the Army was to 
be maintained at the same ratio that existed 
in the civilian population — around 10 per- 
cent — the W ar Department proscribed any 
mingling of white and Negro soldiers. The 
result was a concentration of poorly quali- 
fied personnel in Negro units and a concen- 
tration of Negroes in certain branches. 28 
The War Department notified the Engi- 
neers that "the number of colored personnel 
which must be accepted . . . together 
with the undesirability of activating large 
numbers of colored combat units requires 
that service units must, in general, absorb 
more than their normal percentage. 
. . ." 29 Under the announced policy more 
than one fourth of engineer enlisted men 
would be Negroes. Most of them were des- 
tined for separate battalions which were 
large pools of unskilled labor, and had in 
fact during World War I been called labor 
battalions. Other Negroes were to be or- 
ganized into dump truck companies, light 
ponton companies, and general service regi- 
ments. Segregation into units such as these 
prevented the most effective use of skilled 
Negroes. 30 

The 105 Negro enlisted men in the Corps 
in June 1940 were assigned to the Engineer 
School detachment at Fort Belvoir where 
they performed menial tasks. Only twenty 
of them had grades above private first class. 
Since it was impossible to supply cadres 
from this group, the first Negro engineer 

tactical unit in World War II had to draw 
its cadre from the infantry and cavalry. 
This unit, the 41st General Service Regi- 
ment, was organized on 15 August 1940 
under the command of Lt. Col. John E. 
Wood, who had great enthusiasm and con- 
fidence in his men and their ability. "We 
have made it clear that we are soldiers — for 
either construction or combat; that we are 
not to be confused with labor troops . . . 
he wrote in September 1940, adding 
proudly, "We can handle any expansion 
the War Department prescribes for us." 31 
Notwithstanding Wood's optimism the 41st 
Engineers was hardly a broad enough base 
on which to begin an expansion. In Febru- 
ary 1941 the Engineers faced a job of acti- 
vating four separate battalions and provid- 
ing cadres for twenty-three companies at 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, CO 29th Engr Bn to CG Fourth Army, 
13 Dec 40, sub: Analysis of Qualifications, Selective 
Service Men. 327.3, Pt. 1. (2) Personal Ltr, Lt Col 
William F. Heavey, CO 20th Engr Regt, to King- 
man, 15 Mar 41. 417, Pt. 10. (3) Personal Ltr, 
Kingman to Heavey, 21 Mar 41. 417, Pt. 10. (4) 
Personal Ltr, Lt Col Mason Young, CO 43d Engr 
Regt, to Godfrey, 24 Mar 41. 320.2, 43d Engrs. 
(5) Ltr, CO 62d Engr Co (Topo) to CofEngrs, 26 
Aug 41, sub: Comments on Orgn and Tng of Topo 
Co (Corps). 320.2, 62d Engrs. (6) Ltr, CO 67th 
Engr Co (Topo) to CofEngrs, 27 Sep 41, sub: Rpt 
on Orgn, 67th Engr Co (Topo). 320.2, 67th Engrs. 

" The subject of Negro troops in World War II 
is covered fully in Ulysses G. Lee, Employment of 
Negro Troops, a volume in preparation for the 
WAR II. Except when otherwise noted the follow- 
ing discussion is based upon Lee, Chapters II, V, 
and VI and upon correspondence in 322.999, Pt. 1 ; 
680, RTC, Pt. 1; 320.2, Pts. 25-26; 320.2, 41st 
Engrs; and 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pts. 12, 14. 

28 1st Ind, AG 680.1 (10-30-41) MC-C to Cof- 
Engrs, 21 Nov 41, on Ltr, CofEngrs to TAG, 30 
Oct 41, sub: ERTCs for Augmentation of Army. 

680.1, RTC, Pt. 1. 

^Incl 1, RTCs, with AG Ltr 680.1 (10-15-40) 
M-C-M to Cs of Arms and Svs et al, 25 Oct 40, 
sub: RTCs. 327.3, Pt. 1. 

31 Personal Ltr, Wood to Kingman, 27 Sep 40. 

320.2, 41st Engrs. 



replacement training centers. Four more 
separate battalions, a general service regi- 
ment, two light ponton companies, and two 
dump truck companies were to be activated 
in June. Cadre requirements for February 
alone were estimated at 700 Negro enlisted 
men. Yet in November 1940 there were 
only 695 enlisted men in the 41st Engineers 
and Kingman judged 195 of them unfit for 
any grade above private. Kingman first re- 
quested Negro cadres from other arms and 
services but they had their own requirements 
to meet. Wood then proposed to improve 
the ability of the 41st Engineers to furnish 
cadres by expanding the unit to war 
strength, by staggering the activation of new 
units, and by using the 41st as a partial 
replacement depot to train Negro recruits 
for other branches. The War Department 
approved all these proposals within the next 
few months. 32 

These measures did not resolve the situa- 
tion. One of the commanding officers of a 
new separate battalion noted in March 1941 
that many of his enlisted cadremen could 
scarcely add or spell. The following August 
Kingman remarked on the relatively few 
Negroes who were qualified to become non- 
commissioned officers of the first two grades 
and directed O&T to arrange more school- 
ing for Negroes. Meanwhile more white 
Reserve officers had to be assigned to Negro 

About the same time the Engineers be- 
gan to discuss the possibility of securing a 
reduction in the number of Negroes allotted 
them. According to the War Department's 
plans for fiscal year 1942, the Engineers 
would have received 1 5 percent of the Negro 
strength in the Army. OCE agreed with the 
War Department that combat units should 

be white and felt further that except for 
dump truck and ponton companies the 
technical nature of the duties of special 
units precluded the acceptance of Negroes. 
The fact that the AAF was willing to permit 
28.1 percent of its aviation engineers to be 
Negro relieved the situation somewhat. Still 
the Engineers figured that 70 percent of the 
troops organized for major construction 
would be Negro, and they felt this ratio was 
too high. Construction work with power 
machinery required skills which compara- 
tively few Negroes had and which few could 
readily acquire, the argument ran. The 
proper percentage of Negro construction 
troops was concluded to be 40 percent. 

Early in October Col. Raymond F. Fow- 
ler, chief of O&T, pointed out that to 
achieve this percentage, either several corps 
combat regiments would have to be organ- 
ized as Negro units or the number of 
Negroes coming to the Engineers must be 
reduced. At the end of that month Reybold, 
the new Chief of Engineers, asked the War 
Department to cut the number of Negro 
troops being assigned. 33 The War Depart- 
ment rejected both suggestions, reiterating 
that large numbers of Negro combat units 
would be undesirable, and adding that ex- 
perience had shown that "certain engineer 
units, notably separate battalions and dump 

32 ( 1 ) Ltr, AC of Engrs to TAG, 3 1 Oct 40, sub : 
Tng of Colored Cadres (320.2, Pt. 26), states that 
twenty-six RTC companies were to be activated. 
Only twenty-three were finally activated. (2) Info 
Bull 84, 10 Apr 41, sub: Orgn of Engr Units. 

aj ( 1 ) Memo, Capt William W. Brotherton, AC 
of O&T Sec, for Fowler, 31 Jul 41, sub: Negro 
Units in Augmented PMP, AG file, Engrs, 370.9, 
Mob Ser. Nos. 435-63. (2) Memo, C of O&T Sec 
for Kingman, 4 Oct 41, sub: Engr Units for Force 
of 3,200,000. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. (3) 
Ltr, Cof Engrs to TAG, 30 Oct 41, sub: ERTCs for 
Augmentation of Army. 680.1, RTC, Pt. 1. Speci- 
fically, Reybold asked that plans for expanding 
capacity for Negro troops at ERTCs be reduced. 



truck companies function reasonably well 
with colored personnel." 34 

The initial expansion of the Army during 
fiscal year 1940 had imposed little strain on 
the supply of Regular Engineer officers. By 
transferring 40 from the civil works pro- 
gram, by reducing by almost 100 the attend- 
ance at special and general service schools, 
and by withdrawing 27 from ROTC units, 
OCE had succeeded by 1 September 1940 
in assigning 378 officers to engineer troops 
as compared with 198 a year before. The 
Engineer Reserve, too, had seemed ample. 
When in December 1939 the War Depart- 
ment limited new appointments in the Offi- 
cers' Reserve Corps to ROTC graduates, 
OCE accepted the action with equanimity. 
The constant additions coming to the Engi- 
neers through the ROTC made the supply 
of reservists sufficient, noted Major Clater- 
bos of O&T, and the suspension of other 
appointments was sound — at least until it 
was possible to weed out those who were 
over-age or physically unfit. Calling up re- 
servists seemed primarily a matter of setting 
up a system of priorities in assigning them. 
Under the system established in September 
1 940, priority was to be given first to exist- 
ing units, then to overhead and service re- 
quirements, and finally to new units. Pref- 
erably a Reserve officer would take a 
refresher course at the Engineer School but 
if this were not possible he would report 
direct to his unit. 35 

The expansion which resulted from the 
draft changed this happy situation, both as 
to Reserve and Regular Army officers. The 
shortage of Regular Army officers became 
apparent at once. As a matter of fact, only 
435 of 767 needed for projected troop units 
and replacement training centers were 
available. A committee appointed to devise 
means of surmounting this crisis made sev- 

eral concrete suggestions. Immediate quotas 
could be filled by reassigning 188 officers 
from existing troop units and by transferring 
51 more from civil works to troop duty. 
Cutting allotments to troop units would en- 
able the Corps to spread its small supply of 
Regulars. The number of Regular Army 
officers was accordingly reduced from 18 
to 10 per aviation regiment, from 14 to 6 
per general service or combat regiment, and 
from 6 to 4 per combat battalion. Whereas 
1 70 had been previously slated for replace- 
ment training centers, only 24 were allotted 
to each of the two centers in October. To 
provide for the future the committee sug- 
gested that more retired officers be recalled 
to active duty and that some of the Engineer 
instructors at West Point be released. The 
proposal to tap the supply of retired officers 
was adopted and many of them were re- 
called. The other proposal, to reduce the 
number of Engineer instructors at the Mili- 
tary Academy, while not immediately 
acceded to, fired the opening gun in a 
struggle to abate the assignment of Engineer 
officers to nonengineer duties, a struggle that 
was waged over Reserve as well as Regular 
Army officers. Prominent, if not at the core 
of the arguments that were advanced dur- 
ing the push and pull that ensued, was 
the desire of the Corps of Engineers to as- 

" 1st Ind, AG 680.1 (10-30-41) MC-G to Gof- 
Engrs, 21 Nov 41, on Ltr, CofEngrs to TAG, 30 Oct 
41, sub: ERTCs for Augmentation of Army. 680.1, 
RTC (C) Pt 1 

85 ( 1) Ltr, Actg CofEngrs to ACofS G-l, 10 Mar 
41, sub: Effect of the Expansion Program on Distr 
of RA Offs, CE. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 12. (2) 
Ann Rpts OCE, 1939, 1940. (3) AG Ltr 210.1 
ORC (11-14-39) R-A to Corps Area Comdrs 
et al., 8 Dec 39, subr Suspension of Appointments 
in ORC. 326.3, Pt. 27. (4) Personal Ltr, Claterbos 
to Maj D. G. White, U. S. Engr Office Boston, 
26 Sep 40. 326.3, Pt. 29. (5) Memo, C of Pers 
Sec for O&T, 23 Sep 40, sub: Policy on Calling 
Res Offs to Active Duty. 326.02, Pt. 4. 



sume control of the military construction 
program. 36 

The Quartermaster General was super- 
vising the building of camps, airfields, muni- 
tions plants, and other military installations 
that had become necessary with the expan- 
sion of the Army. From the start, the Quar- 
termaster Corps had been forced to dip 
into the Engineers' pool of Reserve officers 
in order to manage this program, eventually 
to reach eleven billion dollars. As of Oc- 
tober 1940, 198 of the 249 Engineer Re- 
serve officers assigned to other branches were 
with the Quartermaster Corps, Early in De- 
cember the QMC began to bite into the 
Engineers' Regulars, At this time, Lt. Col. 
Brehon B. Somervell was called in to di- 
rect military construction, and he brought 
with him six other outstanding Engineer 
officers. 37 The Engineers wanted these offi- 
cers back and sought to prevent the loss of 
additional officers to General Staff and other 
duties outside the Corps. At the same time 
they aspired to take charge of the military 
construction program, asserting that their 
field organization for the now diminishing 
civil works was ideal for the purpose. As 
Schley strove to explain it, "the Corps of 
Engineers can readily take on additional 
work but can not spare additional officers 
for assignment or detail to other agencies." 38 

In November 1940 the Engineers had 
obtained a slice of the military construction 
program when airfield construction was 
transferred to their jurisdiction. Shortly 
afterward they were given equal priority 
with the Quartermaster Corps in calling up 
Reserve officers for this work. In January 
1941 they gained a few more officers when 
the General Staff agreed to a smaller num- 
ber at the Military Academy. 30 

Until the spring of 1941 the Engineers 

were more concerned about the distribution 
of Regular Army officers than about that 
of Reserve officers. In March 1941 King- 
man notified the General Staff of the short- 
ages caused by unexpected demands for 
armored and aviation engineers. Engineer 
Regulars available for troop units consti- 
tuted about 18.3 percent of the number 
authorized whereas Regulars constituted 
21.5 percent of the officers in the Army as 
a whole. He recommended that his Corps 
be given sixty graduates of the 1941 class 
at West Point, that no additional officers 
be assigned to branch immaterial duties, that 
the number of instructors at West Point 
be cut again, that assignments to public 
works not essential to national defense cease. 
Finally and most important, he wanted all 
the officers loaned to the Quartermaster 
Corps, with the single exception of Somer- 
vell, returned to the Engineers by June. 
The Adjutant General allotted 64 of 764 
new appointments to the Engineers and 
agreed to do his best to prevent the assign- 

M (1) Memo, C of Pers Sec for Kingman, 13 
Sep 40, sub: Rpt of Activities Pers Sec for Wk 
Ending 13 Sep 40. 025, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, C of Pers 
Sec for Kingman, 16 Sep 40, sub: Reorgn Incident 
to Expansion Program. 320.2, Pt. 25. (3) Rpt Spe- 
cial Bd OCE to Cof Engrs, 17 Oct 40, sub: Pro- 
posed Distr of Commissioned Pers Expansion Pro- 
gram, 1941. 210.3, Engrs Corps of. (4) Testimony, 
CofS, 28 Apr 41, H Comm on Appropriations, 
Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1942, 
Hearings, p. 32. (5) Memo, C of Pers Sec for King- 
man, 31 Jan 41, sub: Rpt of Activities Pers Sec for 
Wk Ending 31 Jan 41. 025, Pt. 1. 

31 Memo, C of Pers Sec for Kingman, 10 Oct 40, 
sub: Res Offs Detailed to Brs for Extended Active 
Duty. 326.02, Pt. 4. 

38 Memo, Kingman for Schley, 27 Jan 41, sub: 
Det of Experienced Engr Offs From Work of CE. 
210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 15. 

30 ( 1 ) Memo, C of Pers Sec for Kingman, 28 Feb 
41, sub: Rpt of Activities Pers Sec for Wk Ending 
28 Feb 41. 025.1, Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, TAG to Cs of 
Arms and Svs, 26 Dec 40, sub: Extended Active 
Duty, Constr Program. 326,02, Pt. 4. 



ment of additional officers to branch im- 
material duties or nondefense tasks. Engi- 
neer officers supervising the construction 
program would not be returned to the 
Corps but would remain with The Quarter- 
master General. 40 

The reservoir of Reserve officers, which 
had seemed so ample, meanwhile developed 
unanticipated leaks. In October 1940 the 
War Department allowed key employees in 
defense industries to be deferred, and the 
following January the Navy was permitted 
to siphon off engineers from ROTC units. 
In spite of these losses and of continuing 
levies by the Quartermaster Corps the En- 
gineers remained sanguine about their Re- 
serve until April 1941. At this time Bessell 
of the Personnel Section pronounced the 
supply of second lieutenants sufficient to fill 
vacancies in all units through the 30th of 
June provided only that unexpected defer- 
ments, expansion of the military construc- 
tion program, or a step-up in mobilization 
did not occur. The supply of officers in 
grades above second lieutenant was already 
deficient. 41 

Throughout the rest of the year the Engi- 
neers protested the depletion of their Re- 
serve. In some corps areas Engineer officers 
had been ordered to duty with troop units 
of other arms and services; in others, non- 
Engineer officers had been ordered to duty 
with the Engineers. Contrary to assurances 
that adequate numbers were available for 
assignment to the Engineer School, corps 
areas had not met quotas. The Quarter- 
master General continued to press for and 
receive more officers. 42 Between July 1940 
and August 1941 the Engineer Reserve had 
been reduced by 1,659 officers through 
transfers and deferments. Schley estimated 
that 6,736 officers would be required for 

1942 and that only 6,187 were available — 
an over-all shortage of 549 that was most 
pressing in the upper grades. "I have ex- 
pressed concern on several previous oc- 
casions about the continued diversion of 
officers . . . ," he reminded the Chief of 
Staff in August. "I feel that a once adequate 
Reserve, built up by peace time planning, 
is now depleted to the point where further 
diversion must be suspended or standards 
must be lowered to permit appointments 
from civil sources." 43 Although a somewhat 
different analysis showed a surplus of 338 
officers, Kingman pointed out that con- 
tinued transfers would whittle this away and 
recommended that no more be made. 44 

For the most part the War Department 
avowed itself helpless to correct this situation 
and argued that officer candidate school 
graduates, ROTC graduates, and ineligible 
reservists on inactive status should, in the 
future, provide the needed officers. In the 
summer of 1941 the War Department did 

" (1) Ltr, Actg Cof Engrs to ACofS G-l, 10 Mar 
41, sub: Effect of the Expansion Program on Distr 
of RA OfTs, CE. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 12. (2) 
AG Ltr 320.2 (3-10-41) C-A to CofEngrs, 22 Apr 
41, sub: Distr of RA OfTs, CE. 210.3, Engrs Corps 
of, Pt. 16. 

11 ( 1 ) Incl, 7 Oct 40, with Ltr, ExO Plan Br 
OASW to Cs of Sup Arms and Svs, 23 Nov 40, sub: 
Clas of Res OfTs as Key Employees in Industry. 
210.01, Res Offs, Pt. 1. (2) AG Ltr 045.71 (1-6- 
41) M-C to CGs All Corps Areas et al, 21 Jan 41, 
sub: Navy Proc of Engr Grads, Incl ROTC. 353, 
ROTC, Pt. 16. (3) Personal Ltr, Godfrey to Dr. 
J. E. Burchard, MIT, 1 Feb 41. 326.3, Pt. 29. (4) 
Memo, C of Pers Sec for TAG, 15 Apr 41, sub: 
Appointment in CE Res, with 1st Ind, AG 210.1 
ORC (4-15-41) R-A to CofEngrs. 326,3, Pt. 29. 

"Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 2B May 41, sub 
Availability of Engr Res OfTs. 210.3, Engrs Corps 
Pt. 17. 

"Memo, CofEngrs for CofS, 13 Aug 41, sub: 
Suspension of Transfer and Detail of CE Res Offs 
to Other Brs. 326.3, Pt. 31. 

14 Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 13 Oct 41, sub: Short- 
age of Engr Res Offs. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. 



promise to require corps area commanders 
to seek approval before assigning Reserve 
officers to branches in which they had not 
been commissioned, and, on 4 September 
1941, suspended all transfers or details of 
Engineer Reserve officers above first lieu- 
tenant to other branches except the AAF. 45 

In December 1941 the Engineers finally 
got all the officers — Regular and Reserve — 
who had been assigned to The Quarter- 
master General, and with them the entire 
military construction program. But the in- 
crease in manpower was matched by the 
expanded mission. The shortage remained 

As the shortage of officers became more 
acute, the effective use of skills became more 
important. At the outbreak of war in Europe 
the classification system for officers was con- 
fined to rating them according to military 
and physical efficiency. There was no con- 
sistency. Regular Army officers were given 
annual efficiency reports and periodic physi- 
cals. The only records of National Guard 
officers which were subject to War Depart- 
ment review were the medical reports of 
those belonging to the National Guard of 
the United States. Ratings of Reserve offi- 
cers were made on the basis of sporadic 
reports filed in the offices exercising jurisdic- 
tion over them. Classification by occupa- 
tional qualifications was haphazard. Al- 
though OCE retained under its jurisdiction 
those Reserve officers having special qualifi- 
cations, and although these qualifications 
were recorded when the officers received 
commissions, the records were not kept up 
to date. In June 1940 The Adjutant General 
directed each Reserve officer to fill out a 
questionnaire about his experience so that 
the branch in which he was enrolled could 
check this against his mobilization assign- 

ment. In November, the War Department 
went a step further when an attempt was 
made to classify all officers as command, 
staff, or specialist, but it was not until after 
the declaration of war that a comprehensive 
system went into effect, 46 

Meanwhile, the Engineers were becom- 
ing conscious of the need to depend on more 
than the law of averages in assigning officers. 
Godfrey noted in February 1941 that gen- 
eral service regiments should contain five 
or six highway engineers. About the same 
time Schley, intent upon increasing the 
number of civil engineers in ROTC units, 
suggested closing out all enrollments to other 
than this group. Godfrey demurred. ROTC 
enrollments of all types of engineering stu- 
dents should show a sharp rise as a result 
of the quickening interest in military pre- 
paredness. Rather than shut the door as 
Schley advocated, he proposed a priority 
system that would place civil engineers in 
a preferred position, followed by mining, 
mechanical, electrical, and other categories 
of the engineering profession. In further 
defense of his method, Godfrey pointed 
out that dependence upon power machinery 
made large numbers of mechanical engi- 
neers acceptable. In addition to the estab- 
lishment of priorities, he sought permission 
to obtain civil engineers by transfer from 

45 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Bessell to Maj Paschal N. 
Strong, 7 Jul 41. 326.3, Pt. 30. (2) Ltr, ACofEngrs 
to TAG, 13 Oct 41, sub: Shortage of Engr Res Offs, 
with 1st Ind, 28 Oct 41. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, 
Pt. 14. 

* (1) MR 1-3, 30 Oct 39. (2) Ltr, C of Pers Sec 
to TAG, 5 Jan 39, sub: Glas of Res Offs. 370.01, 
Pt. 1. (3) Memo, CofEngrs for Lower Miss. Valley 
Div Engr, 12 Dec 39, sub: Estab of Offs' Qualifica- 
tions File. 201.6, Pt. 1. (4) AG Ltr 381 (9-18-39) 
P (A) to CofEngrs, 27 Sep 39, sub: Rev of Mil 
Qualifications List for Offs. 326.3, Pt. 27. (5) 
Davenport and Kampschroer, Personnel Utilization, 
pp. 87-89, 183-85. 



nonengineer ROTC units. 47 In July 1941 
both of Godfrey's schemes were approved. 
On 15 September 1941, when war was al- 
most upon the country, the War Depart- 
ment gave its blessing to commissioning as 
Engineers 5 percent of the total number of 
ROTC graduates from other branches. 
Similar concessions were made to the Quar- 
termaster Corps at the same time, while the 
Signal Corps and the Air Forces were each 
allowed to commission 10 percent from 
other branches. 48 In a further effort to clas- 
sify officers, the Personnel Section had estab- 
lished a machine records unit. By the end 
of July, 95 percent of the qualification ques- 
tionnaires sent to Engineer Regular Army, 
National Guard, and Reserve officers had 
been received and 80 percent of these had 
been classified. Henceforth OCE was pre- 
pared to furnish lists of Reserve officers with 
285 different engineering qualifications to 
Corps of Engineers agencies.* 9 

Training the First Civilians 

The great expansion in personnel, espe- 
cially of citizen soldiers, challenged the Engi- 
neers' training facilities almost at once. 
Before recruits could be instructed and led, 
teachers and leaders had to be developed. 
Regular officers and enlisted men were pre- 
pared to command and teach, but there 
were not enough of them. In order to qualify 
more individuals for this job, the Engineer 
School in July 1940 abandoned the nine- 
month course for Regular Army officers en- 
tirely and cut the length of the enlisted 
men's courses. For the next year and a half 
Reserve and National Guard officers, who 
were only partly prepared, and officer candi- 
dates, who were wholly unprepared to in- 
struct others, would make up the bulk of the 
school's student body. Reserve and National 

Guard officers attended from four to five 
weeks and officer candidates for twelve. 

In an effort to supply occupational 
specialists in greater numbers and more 
quickly, the school divided the long multi- 
purpose courses for enlisted men into shorter 
courses of one subject each. Thus surveying 
and drafting became two courses as did 
water purification and mechanical equip- 
ment. Instead of spending four to eight 
months at the school, enlisted men gradu- 
ated after three months. The graduate of 
1941 mastered only one subject, but within 
his limited sphere he could perform just as 
well as the graduate of 1939. In order to 
train men faster, the Engineers had begun 
what is known in industry as job breakdown 
or what might be called the specialization of 
specialists. Officer training was not so 
narrow. The aim in the case of OCS 
candidates was to impart a little knowledge 
about a great number of things. National 
Guard and Reserve officers were at the 
school to brush up on the latest tactics and 

By shortening the course of study and by 

" (1) Memo, Schley for Kingman, 28 Feb 41. 
353, ROTC, Pt. 16. (2) Memo, C of O&T Sec for 
CofEngrs, 7 Apr 41, sub: Brs of Engineering Rep- 
resented in ROTC Grads. Same file. (3) Memo, C 
of Pers Sec for Kingman, 9 May 41, sub: Rpt of 
Activities Pers Sec for Wk Ending 9 May 41. 025.1, 
Pt. 3. (4) Memo, C of O&T Sec for CofEngrs, 4 
Feb 41, sub: Off Pers for Gen Sv Regts. 320.2, 41st 

48 ( 1 ) Memo, C of O&T Sec for Kingman, 9 Jul 
41. 353, ROTC, Pt. 16. (2) Memo, ACofEngrs for 
TAG, 18 Jul 41, sub: Commissioning of ROTC 
Grads in CE Res. 326.3, Pt. 30. (3) Memo, C of 
O&T Sec for Senior Engr Instructors ROTC Units, 
22 Jul 41. 326.3, Pt. 30. (4) Ltr, AG 210.1 ORC 
(7-18-41) RB-A to COs et al, 15 Sep 41, sub: 
Instrs Governing Commissioning of ROTC Grads 
in Arms and Svs Other Than Those in Which 
Trained. P&T Div file, ROTC-Policies-Grads. 

" (1) Memo, J. Y. Lineweaver, Pers Sec, for Cs 
of Sees OCE, 29 Jul 41. 210.01. (2) Ann Rpt OCE, 



enlarging facilities and faculty, the school 
was able to multiply its output from 87 of- 
ficers and 66 enlisted men in the fiscal year 
1940 to 1,528 officers and 260 enlisted men 
in 1941. Many officer graduates were des- 
tined to become instructors at the two engi- 
neer replacement training centers which 
opened in the spring of 1941 to give basic 
military and engineer technical training to 
citizen soldiers. But before Pearl Harbor 
most of the incoming tide of civilians 
flooded directly into engineer units, which 
had to turn them first into soldiers and then 
into engineers who could contribute to the 
functioning of the unit as a whole. 50 

Confusion inevitably attended the begin- 
nings of such a vast program. When the 
19th Engineer Combat Regiment was acti- 
vated in June 1940 personnel arrived in 
exactly reverse order from that prescribed — 
first, the recruits, then the enlisted cadre, 
and finally the officers. Shortages of equip- 
ment were evident in the newly organized 
12th Engineer Combat Battalion which had 
as its first month's objective a complete uni- 
form for every man. The experience of the 
4th Engineers in expanding from a com- 
pany to a battalion was typical. Within a 
few months the unit had to train recruits, 
supply cadres to other units, and send a 
group on maneuvers, as well as to furnish 
men for demonstrations. 51 

General Headquarters had been acti- 
vated in July 1 940 to co-ordinate and super- 
vise the training of Army field forces, and 
shortly thereafter tactical units were 
grouped into four armies. Although engi- 
neer units came under the control of sepa- 
rate army commanders, the training plan 
for all was essentially the same. They were 
expected to follow the Engineer MTP 5-1 
which became available in September 1940. 
General engineer units were to receive thir- 

teen weeks' training. At the end of the 
two-week basic period, troops were sup- 
posed to be able to wear and care for their 
equipment, to fire their rifles, and to march. 
From the third to the tenth week training 
of individuals continued with emphasis on 
technical subjects. In the remaining three 
weeks individuals were expected to learn 
how to function in a team. Special units 
were not to receive so much preliminary in- 
struction. Two weeks of basic military 
training and two weeks of practice in operat- 
ing together were expected to suffice because 
such units were to be made up of technically 
qualified individuals. 52 

After thirteen weeks of training under the 
MTP, general engineer units were expected 
to go on to combined training with other 
arms and services. Just as individuals had 
been welded into an engineer unit, so various 
units — infantry, artillery, engineers, and 
other combat or supporting elements — 
would be integrated into divisions, corps, 
and armies. This phase of training included 
participation in maneuvers, and was sup- 
posed to last seven to eight months. The 
Army thus allowed about a year to train the 
raw recruit — too short a time, in the judg- 
ment of the Engineer School, to permit all 
units to become efficient. 53 

w Corresp in 352.1 1, Engr Sch, Pts. 9, 11; 325.11, 
Pts. 4, 9, 10; 210.3, Engr Sch, Pt. 4; 221, Pt. 8; 
and EHD file, Loose Corresp, 1940, 1941. 

61 ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col Frank L. Blue, Jr., CE, to 
Herbert H. Rosenthal, 19 Jun 50. EHD files. (2) 
Personal Ltr, Galloway to Maj Robert E. York, 
CO 71st Engr Co, 2 Aug 40. 320.2, Pt. 25. (3) 
"Engineer Troop Activities," The Military Engi- 
neer, XXXIII (March-April, 1941), 158. (4) 
Personal Ltr, Maj Frank O. Bowman, CO 4th Engr 
Bn, to Godfrey, 26 Jul 40. 320.2, 87th Engrs. 

ca MTP 5-1, 5 Sep 40. 

58 ( 1 ) Incl, 25 Sep 40, with Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch 
to CofEngrs, 25 S*p 40, sub : Mission and Tng of 
Engrs. 353, Pt. 15. (2) Ltr, CofS GHQ to All 
Army Comdrs, 4 Jan 41, sub: Combined Tng. Same 



The committees which studied the train- 
ing of divisional engineer units in the re- 
search course agreed that it would take at 
least two years to create an efficient division. 
This much time could not be had but time 
could be made by eliminating or minimizing 
''numerous ceremonies, good will tours, 
white washed tent pegs, fatigue and police 
[duty]." One committee suggested that 
"post service commands should be instituted 
utilizing civilian employees, labor units 
organized from those less physically fit or 
relief labor. A recruit cannot be instilled 
with pride in being a soldier by sorting gar- 
bage on the post dump or driving the 
'honey' wagon." Bi The committees re- 
turned time and again to the importance 
of resisting the inclination of post com- 
manders to use engineers as labor troops 
and warned that "the post commander may 
be pleased at our efficiency in building bar- 
racks or greenhouses but inefficiency in 
building a ponton bridge and delaying a 
division or corps in maneuvers for six or 
eight hours is unexplainable and not soon 
forgotten." 55 

Corps combat regiments, general service 
regiments, separate battalions, and aviation 
battalions could profit considerably more 
than combat and armored battalions from 
assignment to construction work around an 
Army post. But such work should be com- 
parable in kind, and preferably in extent, 
to that which the units might perform in a 
theater of operations. In November 1940 
the assistant chief of O&T expressed fears 
that the approximately twenty-five corps 
and army units scheduled for activation by 
the following summer would lack such op- 
portunities and consequently "much of their 
work will be of the 'dog-robbing' nature for 
the post commander and other units." 56 

Under pressure of expansion the Army 
was forced to alter some of its best-laid 
plans. For many individuals and for many 
units trai ning did not proceed according to 

schedule. (Table 3) The 12th Engineer 

Combat Battalion, activated on 1 July 1940, 
struggled against shortages of equipment, 
inadequate facilities, turnover of personnel, 
and red tape — "every week there is a new 
form or an amendment to an old one, and it 
takes the best officers just to keep the papers 
straight." The unit succeeded in finishing 
about eleven weeks of a thirteen-week pro- 
gram in six and a half months. The 15th 
cleared stumps, graded banks, dumped sand 
for two swimming holes, and participated 
in post exercises and reviews, yet managed 
to spend about 60 percent of its time on 
the standard program. The 17th Engineer 
Armored Battalion reported similar diver- 
sions, having supervised and furnished tools 
and equipment for "various construction 
jobs . . . from building grease racks and 
canvas-top theaters to the construction of 
moving-target, moving-vehicle, and 1,000- 
inch pistol ranges." 57 

Some combat regiments, general service 
regiments, and separate battalions did en- 
gage in profitable construction work. The 
commanding officer of the 41st General 
Service Regiment treated the construction 
of a post road as a tactical assignment and 

M Info Bull 71, 2 Jan 41, sub: Mission, Duties, 
and Tng of Div Engr Units, p. 1 1. 

55 (1) Ibid., App. Ill, p. 3. (2) See also, Rpt, 
Mission and Tng of Engr Bn (Armed). Second 
Research Course, Vol. II. 

M Memo, AG of O&T Sec for Godfrey, 7 Nov 40, 
sub: Tng of Engr Units in Other Than Combat 
Duties. 353, Pt. 15. 

31 (1) Info Bull 77, 28 Feh 41, sub: Activation 
of Engr Trp Units in 1940. (2) Memo, O&T Sec 
for CofEngrs, 31 Mar 41, sub: Inspec of Engr 
Units, Fts. Bragg, Jackson, and Benning, 23-29 
Mar 41. 333.1, Pt. 2. 



Table 3 — Distribution of Training Time for Engineer Combat Battalion of 
Infantry Division and Engineer Armored Battalion of Armored Division 


Combat Battalion 

Combat Battalion. 

Armored Battalion 




















Technical, combat 







Technical, engineer „ . 







Field fortifications and camouflage 






Use and supply of tools, equipment, and mate- 

rials . 




















Demolitions and mining _ _ _ 







Roads, construction and maintenance 







General construction 






Engineer reconnaissance 







Night operations, technical 






Battalion field technical training 


2. 1 


2. 1 


Map reading 




1. 5 





13. 1 



Open time. _ 







Specialist training, operation of vehicles 




9. 1 

Source: MTP 5-1, 5 Sep 40, 19 Dec 41. 

worked his men in two shifts to meet a self- 
imposed ten-day completion date. The 97th 
Separate Battalion, like the 41st a Negro 
unit, was not so fortunate. Progress would 
have been greater, reported its commanding 
officer, if there had not been an excessive 
amount of guard duty. 58 

Aviation battalions tried to take advan- 
tage of every opportunity to construct run- 
ways, taxi strips, ground facilities, and 
protective and defensive structures. The 
803 d saw many opportunities for improving 
the facilities at Westover Field, Massachu- 
setts, and asked for money to buy construc- 
tion materials. The 809th, activated on 1 
June 1941 with a nucleus of seasoned troops 

from the 3d Engineer Combat Regiment, 
conducted specialist training for three weeks 
before setting sail for the Philippines. After 
arriving there the unit, with the help of some 
800 civilians, began to construct a large 
airfield. Training as such, defined by the 
commanding officer as combat exercises in 
ground defense and protection of installa- 
tions, was temporarily discontinued. 59 

M ( 1 ) Memo cited nT37l (2). (2) Ltr, CO 97th 
Engr Bn (Sep) to CofEngrs, 9 Sep 41, sub: Rpts 
on New Orgn. 320.2, 97th Engrs. 

59 (1) Tng Directive 41-42, Hq 803d Engr Bn 
Avn (Sep), 30 Jul 41. 320.2, Pt. 30. (2) Ltr, CO 
803d Engr Bn Avn (Sep) to CofEngrs, 26 Aug 41, 
sub: Rpt on New Orgn. Same file. (3) Ltr, CO 
809th Engr Co Avn (Sep) to CofEngrs, 10 Sep 41, 
sub: Rpt on New Orgn. 320.2, 809th Engrs. 



Ponton units, which were the most nu- 
merous of the special units activated during 
1941, reported a considerable range of ex- 
perience. The 73d Light Ponton Company 
and the 90th Heavy Ponton Battalion, both 
stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, pro- 
nounced the bridging sites there excellent, 
and both units were able to begin formal 
training within a month of activation. In 
contrast, the 85 th Heavy Ponton Battalion 
found the river near Camp Robinson, Ar- 
kansas, too wide for practicing ponton 
bridge construction. Activated on 4 June 
1 941 , this unit went into the August maneu- 
vers ill-prepared. 60 The 89th Heavy Ponton 
Battalion, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, 
Missouri, spent the greater part of its first 
two months "on preparation of barracks 
and other buildings for the proper housing 
of the battalion; the policing, grading and 
draining of the battalion area, including the 
construction of essential foot paths and serv- 
ice roads; the drawing of equipment and 
supplies, particularly the unloading of the 
ponton equipage and its transportation . . . ; 
the initial servicing of motor transportation 
and ponton trailers . . . ; and the organiza- 
tion of the men . . . ." Organized training 
was confined to "disciplinary drill and 
guard, the schooling of certain necessary 
specialists, and the handling of the 
equipage." 61 

Much time and energy which engineer 
units might have expended on a systematic 
training program had been used, as had 
been feared, for unrelated duties. But ma- 
neuvers offered some hope of recapturing 
lost opportunities. Since the overriding con- 
sideration was the creation of armies cap- 
able of taking the field at any moment, not 
much was cut from this phase of training. 

Maneuvers were an extension and also a 
test of previous training. They were the 
peacetime Army's nearest approach to war. 
During maneuvers separate units and corps 
and field armies were expected to be fused 
into teams for offensive and defensive 

The most extensive maneuvers in the 
Army's history began with a series of corps 
exercises in June 1941. The VII Corps of 
the Second Army operated in Tennessee, 
the V and VIII Corps of the Third Army in 
Texas and Louisiana, and the IX Corps of 
the Fourth Army in California. Maneuvers 
on a greater scale for the three armies fol- 
lowed in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Wash- 
ington. The climax came in Louisiana in 
September when the Third Army was 
pitted against the Second Army in a simu- 
lated battle in which from 350,000 to 400,- 
000 men participated. The exercises then 
drew to a close with the First Army operat- 
ing in the Carolinas during October and 

The maneuver area in Louisiana, domi- 
nated by three large rivers, offered a great 
many opportunities for the Engineers to test 
their capabilities. The rice country east of 
the Calcasieu River was low and swampy, 
cut through with canals and bayous. The 
Calcasieu River valley, like that of the Sa- 
bine, was wooded but swampy. By contrast 
the valley of the Red River was well drained 
and covered with scrubby pine so that foot 

m (1) Ltr, CO 73d Engr Co to CofEngrs, 13 Sep 
41, sub: Rpt on New Orgn. 320.2, 73d Engrs. (2) 
Ltr, CO 90th Engr Bn to CofEngrs, 3 Oct 41, sub: 
Rpts on New Orgn. 320.2, 90th Engrs. (3) Ltr, CO 
85th Engr Bn (Heavy Ponton), 11 Sep 41, sub: 
Rpt on New Orgn, 320.2, 85th Engrs. 

81 Ltr, CO 89th Engr Bn to CofEngrs, 10 Sep 41, 
sub: Rpt on New Orgn. 320.2, 89th Engrs. 



CAMOUFLAGED REVETMENTS for protecting aircraft from enemy air attack 
constructed by 21st Engineer Aviation Regiment during the Carolina maneuvers, November 1941. 

soldiers could move cross-country. 62 The 
road system was excellent. 

Engineers began to arrive in Louisiana 
about two weeks before the main forces in 
order to provide shelters and other facilities. 
Among the first units to get there was the 
21st Engineer Aviation Regiment. The 21st 
turned the rutted, flooded airport at Lake 
Charles into a usable field, extended the 
runways at Monroe to provide a safer mar- 
gin for landings and take-offs, and took ad- 
vantage of the nearby woods to provide a 
camouflaged dispersal area at Natchitoches. 
So realistically did the 21st Engineers create 
false hedgelines over the Natchitoches field 
that a pilot almost landed outside the strip. 
All runways were paved. Landing mats did 
not come into the hands of aviation engi- 
neers until the November maneuvers in 
North Carolina. 63 The Commanding Gen- 
eral, Air Force Combat Command, could 

scarcely contain his enthusiasm. "These ex- 
ercises certainly justified the requirements 
for Aviation Engineers and the need for 
many additional ones becomes more and 
more apparent," he wrote." 4 Neither the 
Second nor Third Army had a full comple- 
ment of engineers — a fact that accounted in 
part for repeated statements that engineer 
troops were overworked in what Time 
magazine summed up as "a battle of engi- 
neers." 65 

62 Col. DeWitt C. Jones, "Engineer Activities 
With the Third Army," The Military Engineer _, 
XXXIII (December, 1941), 549. 

Unless otherwise noted, the following discussion 
of fall 1941 maneuvers is based upon correspond- 
ence in 354.2, Pts. 9 and 10, and 354.2, Bulky. 

63 Dwight F. Johns, "Maneuver Notes of Avia- 
tion Engineers," The Military Engineer, XXXIII 
(November, 1941), 495-97. 

81 Personal Ltr, Lt Gen Delos C. Emmons to 
Reybold, 30 Sep 41. 354.2, Pt. 9. 
05 Time, Oct 6, 1941, XXXVIII, 42. 



What catapulted the engineers into such 
prominence during the two five-day ma- 
neuvers in Louisiana was the fact that many 
tactical situations involved river crossings. 
There was extensive simulated destruction 
of bridges by the Second Army and much 
actual construction and repair of bridges 
by the Third. Since the weather held good, 
few road repairs were necessary. An antici- 
pated shortage of water did not develop. 
Neither land mines nor other obstacles were 
used to any extent although they might have 
been effectively employed in a campaign 
where so much depended on tanks. In the 
end Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair named the 
maneuver "the Battle of Bridges." 66 

The Engineers were quick to take up Mc- 
Nair's phrase, but not so eager to publicize 
the rest of his analysis. They did admit that 
engineers in both armies displayed tactical 
and technical weaknesses. The advancing 
Third Army did not have to make any as- 
sault crossings. Even with this advantage, 
Third Army engineers broke no records in 
bridge building. It took eight combat com- 
panies and one heavy ponton battalion 25 
hours to complete one 872-foot 25-ton pon- 
ton bridge and its approaches and 48 hours 
to finish another only slightly longer. One 
battalion and two combat companies spent 
almost 15 hours constructing a reinforced 
10-ton bridge 487 feet long. In all three of 
these Red River crossings, it was construc- 
tion of the approaches that took such an 
inordinate amount of time. Perhaps re- 
connaissance was at fault; there was a gen- 
eral admission that reconnaissance was 
weak. At any rate the heavy ponton bat- 
talion which provided a 500-foot 25-ton 
ponton bridge for the Second Armored Divi- 
sion across the Sabine River made much 
better time — 7 hours — but here the ap- 
proaches were already constructed. Thomp- 

son warned, therefore, against blaming the 
delays on design of the bridges. Col. William 
F. Tompkins, Engineer, GHQ, believed 
that engineers in greater numbers and with 
more experience could have bridged the 
Red River in less time, particularly if the 
work had been carried out in shifts. 67 

Both General McNair and Lt. Gen. Wal- 
ter Krueger, the Third Army commander, 
drew a more pessimistic lesson from the 
maneuvers. Krueger doubted that the engi- 
neer effort could have been bettered. 68 Mc- 
Nair agreed : 

If there is any one lesson which stands out 
above all others, it is the decisive influence of 
destroyed bridges. In spite of outstandingly in- 
tense and effective efforts by the engineers, it 
was demonstrated that destruction is vastly 
easier than repair. The best course seems 
clearly to lie in prevention of destruction, 
rather than repair after destruction. We have 
swift transportation and great fire power. The 
seizure of routes logically should be the first 
step of a force which contemplates a swift 
advance. . . . The enemy cannot destroy all 
routes completely in any reasonable time. 68 

Thompson had a ready answer. "In real 
war, a delay of a day or so in front of an 
obstacle which will surely be overcome is 
seldom a matter of great importance," he 
concluded, "whereas, in a maneuver prob- 
lem lasting altogether only four or five days, 
such delay is highly important, and attracts 
great attention." German experience backed 

( 1 ) Jones, "Engineer Activities with the Third 
Army," loc. cit., 551. (2) Incl, with Ltr, Capt 
Clayton E. Mullins, Asst ExO Engr Bd, to Sturde- 
vant, 9 Oct 41, sub: Critique Conclusions, Louisi- 
ana Maneuvers. 354.2, Bulky. 

87 Lt. Col. Mason J. Young, "Crossings of the Red 
River," The Military Engineer, XXXIV (January, 
1942), 30-34. 

68 Ltr, Mullins to Sturdevant, 9 Oct 41, sub: 
Critique Conclusions, Louisiana Maneuvers. 354.2, 
Pt. 9. 

6B Incl with ltr cited n. 68. 



up his contention, he claimed. None of the 
German victories had been won because of 
"split-second bridging of rivers." 70 

Maneuvers were the high point in train- 
ing before Pearl Harbor. Danger of a let- 
down faced the Army after they were over. 
Without extraordinary efforts by command- 
ing officers unit training would seem dull 
to troops who had gone through maneuvers, 
but the importance of making such an ef- 
fort could not be exaggerated. Only by 
strenuous application to the correction of 
weaknesses which had shown up in maneu- 
vers could an efficient fighting force be 
created. The Engineer of the Second Army 
put it this way : 

Engineer troops have reached a commen- 
surate degree of efficiency for the length of 
time the majority of them have been in train- 
ing. On this standard their work was excep- 
tionally well done. As to the more severe 
standard of being fit to fight, there are many 
and serious shortcomings. Practically all of 
the technical shortcomings are known to all 
officers. Their remedy, more detailed training, 
is also known. 71 

He joined other Engineer observers in advo- 
cating more drill in basic Engineer subjects, 
more attention to reconnaissance and evalu- 
ation of information, and more training in 

ponton operations and in the tactical use of 

A common explanation of ranking of- 
ficers for military deficiencies in maneuvers 
was want of leadership. Three other factors 
must be added : insufficient time to prepare, 
inadequacy of facilities, and shortages of 
equipment. All these elements contributed 
to the results or lack of results. In view of 
the problems which arose it is difficult to 
conceive what the story would have been 
had the Corps of Engineers been forced to 
mobilize under the much faster-paced plans 
of the thirties. As it was, the Engineers ex- 
perienced their full share of the errors and 
confusion that pervaded the military history 
of this period. Yet the years 1939 through 
1941 saw tremendous progress. These years 
were marked by great advances in organiza- 
tion and doctrine, by the development of 
new equipment, and by the creation of a 
citizen Corps which, although not quite 
ready to fight, was able to fight if it had to. 

TO Memo, Thompson for Kingman, 7 Oct 41, sub: 
Army Maneuvers in Louisiana, 15-20 Sep 41. 354.2, 
Pt. 10. 

n Rpt, Engr 2d Army to CofEngrs, 29 Nov 41, 
sub: Engr Activity in 2d Army Maneuvers During 
Aug and Sep 41 in Arkansas and Louisiana. 354.2, 


Reorganization and Growth in 1942 

After the Japanese attack in Decem- 
ber 1941, the Corps of Engineers was under 
extraordinary pressure to organize, equip, 
and train its citizen soldiers. Moreover, 
this was but part of the task faced after 
Pearl Harbor. On 16 December 1941, the 
Corps of Engineers took over from the 
Quartermaster Corps supervision of the 
eleven billion dollar military construction 
program. The transfer of this program pre- 
sented another challenge just when engi- 
neer troop units began to multiply at a rate 
that made the "terrific" expansion of the 
previous months seem insignificant. 1 

The Wartime Task and Administrative 

The transfer of military construction 
precipitated a reorganization in the Office 
of the Chief of Engineers which provided 
not only for the supervision of construc- 
tion itself but also for more effective direc- 
tion of the procurement of troop supplies. 
The appointment of Brig. Gen. Clarence 
L. Sturdevant as Assistant Chief of Engi- 
neers in charge of training in 1940 had 
brought the number of assistant chiefs to 
three. Under this arrangement General 
Kingman had supervised all other matters 
having to do with troops, including supply, 
and General Robins, all construction activi- 
ties. The reorganization of December 1941 
increased the number of assistant chiefs and 

changed their duties. (Chart 2) Brig. Gen 

David McCoach, Jr., became Assistant 
Chief of Engineers in charge of the Admin- 
istrative Division, in which were located the 
Civilian Personnel, Fiscal, Contracts and 
Claims, Legal, and Office Service Branches 
as well as the Military Personnel Branch 
formerly located in the Troops Division. 
Robins continued as Assistant Chief of En- 
gineers in charge of the Construction Di- 
vision, with the added duties accruing from 
the transfer. Sturdevant, as Assistant Chief 
in charge of the Troops Division, succeeded 
to Kingman's responsibilities for the Intel- 
ligence Branch and the Operations and 
Training Branch and through these 
branches for the Engineer Reproduction 
Plant, the Engineer School, and the re- 
placement training centers at Fort Belvoir 
and Fort Leonard Wood. Unlike his pred- 
ecessor, General Sturdevant had no con- 
trol over military supply. 2 In the fall of 
1 94 1 Somervell had urged the appointment 
of an Assistant Chief of Engineers for Sup- 
ply "so that he will have the opportunity 
through present procurement activities to 
become familiar with and be ready for the 
expanded supply activities which will come 
with a shooting war." 3 Although the Sup- 

1 For details about the transfer of military con- 
struction s ee Fine and Remington. The Cor ps of 
Engineers: [Construction in the United Statej . 

a (1) Orgn Charts OCE, 1940-42. EHD files. (2) 
OCE GO 8, 10 Nov 41. 

3 Draft of Memo, Somervell for CofEngrs, 8 Sep 
41, sub: Consolidation — Constr Div OQMG With 
Corps of Engrs. Madigan files, Consolidation Bill — 
Collateral Data. 

Chart 2— Organization of the Office of the Chief of Engineers: December 1941 


Deputy Chief of Engineers 

Control Saction 

Public Relations Section 

Troops Division 

Assistant Chief 
or engineers 


Operations and 
Training Branch 

Military Railways 

Supply Division 

Assistant Chief 


_ Military Personnel 

Storage, and Issue 



Assistant Chief 
of Engineers 
Executive Officer 

- Engineering Branch 

Civilian Personnel 

— Fiscal Branch 

Contracts and 
Claims Branch 

- Legal Branch 


Assistant Chief 
of Engineers 

— Operations Branch 

Labor Relations 

— Real Estate Branch 

Repairs and Utilities 

Office Service 




Chief of Engineers from October 1941 unlit 
October 1945. 

ply Division was to purchase materials for 
military construction as well as equipment 
for troops, purchases for troops accounted 
for much the greater volume of its work. 
Brig. Gen. Raymond F. Fowler moved into 
the position of Assistant Chief of Engineers 
for Supply after having served for a brief 
period as chief of O&T. 4 

The Chief of Engineers in December 
1941 was Maj. Gen. Eugene Reybold. He 
had been District Engineer at Memphis 
during the great floods of 1937 and his or- 
ganization of the defenses of that area had 
won nationwide attention. In August 1940 
he came to Washington as G-4 of the Gen- 
eral Staff. A little more than a year later, 
upon Schley's retirement, he was appointed 
Chief of Engineers. 

The administrative arrangements which 
OCE adopted in December 1941 were de- 

signed to insure a balance between troop 
and construction activities. The construc- 
tion program reached its peak in July 1942 
when the value of work placed amounted 
to $720,000,000, and although it con- 
tinued to be large throughout that year, it 
had receded by the fall to the point where 
some personnel could be spared for duties 
connected with the procurement of troop 
equipment. Thereafter, the Engineers found 
it possible to focus more and more upon 
troop activities. 

Over the same twelve -month period the 
number of engineer troops in the Army 
more than trebled from 93,109 to 333,209. 
In December 1941 the Engineers composed 
5.5 percent of the Army; a year later they 
composed 6.2 percent. Of the technical 
services only the Medical Department with 
a strength of 469,981 was larger than the 
Corps of Engineers at the end of 1942. 
The Quartermaster Corps, with a strength 
of 327,794, was next in size. While the 
$650,623,000 worth of procurement de- 
liveries to the Engineers during 1942 was 
trifling compared to the $6,815,541,000 of 
deliveries to the Ordnance Department and 
the $4,322,954,000 to the Quartermaster 
Corps, it was well above amounts delivered 
to the five other services. The striking fact 
about the job the Engineers had to accom- 
plish was its many-sidedness. The five and 
a half billion dollars' worth of construction 
completed by the Engineers in 1942 was 
exceeded only by the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's total procurement program. The 
Medical Department had more troops than 
the Corps of Engineers but procured less 
than a fourth as much equipment, while the 
Ordnance Department with its huge pro- 
curement program had roughly 100,000 
fewer troops. Even if the construction pro- 

4 Orgn Charts OCE, 1942. EHD files. 



gram were left out of the picture, only the 
task of the Quartermaster Corps with its 
large procurement program and its sub- 
stantial number of troops paralleled that of 
the Engineers. 

Except for minor changes in the lower 
echelons, the administrative relationships 
established in OCE in December 1941 re- 
mained in effect for the next two years. Not 
so the relationships of the Corps of Engi- 
neers to higher echelons in the War Depart- 
ment. The reorganization of the Army 
which took place on 9 March 1942 brought 
about a drastic change in the chain of com- 
mand through which the Chief of Engineers 
formerly had direct access to the General 
Staff and to the Under Secretary of War. 
Only in civil works matters did the position 
of the Chief of Engineers remain the same, 
and civil works were not, during wartime, 

A reorganization of the Army was over- 
due. General Headquarters, which had 
been set up on the basis of World War I 
experience to assume control of combat op- 
erations overseas, lacked the power to cope 
with the very different situation which de- 
veloped in 1940-41. Army aviation, half 
inside, half outside the control of GHQ, de- 
manded complete independence to prepare 
for a unique mission. The supply system was 
particularly cumbersome. Requirements 
were established by the chiefs of arms and 
services under the supervision of G— 4 of the 
General Staff, procured under the super- 
vision of the Office of the Under Secretary 
of War, and distributed under the super- 
vision of G— 4. In an emergency, operations 
invariably take precedence over planning. 
In the absence of an agency to direct and 
co-ordinate the supply functions of the va- 
rious arms and services, G— 4 became to a 
large extent an operating staff. The same 

thing happened to G— 1, G-2, and G-3. 
Some means of relieving the General Staff 
of operations duties and restoring its orig- 
inal function as a planning group seemed 
imperative. 5 

The means finally used to create a more 
efficient organization divided the Army into 
three commands: Army Ground Forces, 
Army Air Forces, and the Services of Sup- 
ply. The Corps of Engineers emerged from 
the shuffle a supply service instead of an 
arm, under the Commanding General, 
Services of Supply. To be sure, the Corps 
of Engineers, unlike the arms that were 
absorbed by Army Ground Forces, retained 
its Chief and its traditional administrative 
organization, a fact that compensated some- 
what for the feeling of lowered prestige 
which accompanied this designation as a 
supply service. If the supply function had 
ever been regarded with respect in the 
Army, it had lost all claim to it during the 
twenty-year financial famine following 
World War I. To most officers the word 
"supply" evoked a vision of banishment to 
a depot to count pants and beans. It was 
only the very farsighted who could grasp 
the role that logistics was to play in World 
War II. Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, the 
commanding general of the newly created 
Services of Supply (SOS), himself an En- 
gineer officer, was one of them. In his rec- 
ognition of the importance of the logistical 
task ahead, he perhaps overlooked the fact 
that some of the members of his own Corps 
had not caught up with him. 

5 ( 1 ) Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, Organiza- 
tion of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 128-55, 203. 
(2) Millett, Organization and Role of ASF, Chs, I, 
II. (3) Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, 
On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 449-50. (4) Control 
Div ASF, Statistical Review, World War II: A 
Summary of ASF Activities [1945], (Hereafter 
cited as ASF Stat Review.) EHD files. 



After the creation of the Services of Sup- 
ply, the Corps of Engineers no longer had 
direct contact with the General Staff or 
with the Under Secretary of War. All busi- 
ness with these offices had to go through 
the Commanding General, SOS. The 
changed relationship with the Under Sec- 
retary lost its sting in the course of the re- 
organization itself, since most of the func- 
tions of his office passed to Headquarters, 
SOS. Severing direct connections with the 
General Staff was another matter. Up to 
this time the Engineers had been able to 
trade upon their congenial relations with 
the General Staff in such matters as oppos- 
ing cuts in Engineer strength in the infantry 
division. Just how far SOS would curtail 
this freedom was debatable in March 1942, 
but nothing was clearer than the fact that 
Somervell's organization had the power to 
do so. 

General Reybold, the new Chief of En- 
gineers, had seen while he was G-A the in- 
herent defects of the old organization. Be- 
sides, good soldiers take orders. His attitude 
was expressed in June 1942 in an exchange 
with Congressman Snyder of the House 
Committee on Appropriations: 

Mr. Snyder: I believe your branch, under 
the recent reorganization falls under the 
"Services of Supply?" 

General Reybold : Yes, sir. 

Mr. Snyder: How do you find the new set- 
up? So far as your branch is concerned, would 
you say that it is running smoothly and that 
you have found it to be an improvement over 
the former organization? 

General Reybold: Yes, sir. 6 

Refinement of Prewar Troop Organizations 

The tactical organization of the Army 
before Pearl Harbor was geared to the pat- 
tern of the European war. The Army was 

unprepared for the logistical and strategic 
demands of the global conflict that devel- 
oped after the Japanese attack and only 
gradually realized what these demands 
would be. After the 1941 maneuvers the 
War Department had called for a recon- 
sideration of unit organization, but, though 
they came in 1942, the modifications that 
were made as a result of this directive re- 
flected earlier trends. 7 

OCE's first concern, as it had been since 
1937, was the adequacy of the combat bat- 
talion of the infantry division.The effort to 
make the engineers an integral part of the 
infantry-artillery combat team had suc- 
ceeded almost too well. It became routine 
to assign one or two platoons of an engineer 
company to each of the division's three 
combat teams. Observers came away from 
the 1941 maneuvers convinced of the need 
for a corrective, noting that the few troops 
at the disposal of the division engineer left 
him inadequately prepared to carry out the 
general tasks that were certain to be de- 
manded. The detachment of platoons from 
companies complicated messing and the 
distribution of equipment. Among the ob- 
servers were Col. Joseph C. MehafTey, who 
had been division engineer of the 1st In- 
fantry Division, and Col. Raymond F. 
Fowler, then chief of O&T. Although both 
officers thought the engineer battalion too 
small, they saw little hope of enlarging it at 
that time. They proposed instead to redis- 
tribute its strength into four smaller com- 
panies of two platoons each instead of three 
companies of three platoons, the fourth 

6 H Comm on Appropriations, Hearings on the 
Military Establishment Appropriations Bill, 1943, 
15 Jun 42, p. 212. 

7 Unless otherwise noted, the following discus- 
sion of combat and armored battalions is based upon 
correspondence in 320.2, Pt. 30; 320.2, Engrs Corps 
of, Pts. 14, 15; and 320.3. 



company always to be at the call of the 
division engineer. The Engineer School 
showed little enthusiasm for this idea and 
in fact hung back when it came to endorsing 
the release of so many engineer troops from 
control of the division engineer. The school 
clung to traditional Engineer doctrine 
which held that combat engineers should 
usually be employed under unified control. 
Only when troops were on the march dur- 
ing an advance, a pursuit, or a withdrawal 
did the school favor attachment of engi- 
neers to a combat team. On the attack or 
on the defense they were to be employed 
under centralized control. The school op- 
posed a reorganization within the existing 
strength of the combat battalion. A two- 
platoon company was less efficient than the 
existing three-platoon company because of 
the disproportionate overhead. The combat 
battalion did need four companies, but with 
three platoons each. Moreover, each pla- 
toon should be increased by eight to man 
newly assigned antitank weapons and 
machine guns, and there should be a 
slight addition to battalion headquarters 

Early in January 1942, Sturdevant for- 
warded the school's recommendations to 
G— 3, who rejected the 350-man increase 
but did allow 9 more officers and 102 more 
enlisted men. The battalion remained a 
three-company, three-platoon unit. The 
lettered companies received enough men 
for the new weapons and radios plus a few 
extra basics. The headquarters company 
gained motorboat operators, truck drivers, 
radio operators, basics, and a variety of 
specialists. The engineer combat battalion 
with its 745 men now composed 4.8 per- 
cent of the infantry division, a gain of .7 
percent. G— 3's generosity in this instance 
was typical. It reflected the trend toward 

VELL, the commanding general of the 
Services of Supply. (Photograph taken 

larger units which was one of three im- 
portant characteristics of the 1942 reor- 
ganization. The trend was even more ap- 
parent in the treatment accorded the en- 
gineer battalion of the armored division. 8 

The commander of the engineer ar- 
mored battalion, like the commander of the 
combat battalion, felt that he had too few 
men at his disposal. In September 1941 
Oliver, the Armored Force Engineer, out- 
lined the changes armored engineers con- 
sidered necessary to increase their work 

8 ( 1 ) Schley, Maneuvers at Alexandria, La., May 
40, Comments on Opns, Incl with Ltr, Actg 
CofEngrs to TAG, 12 Jun 40, sub: Rpt of Obsvs 
on Spring Maneuvers. 354.2. (2) EFM 5-6, 23 
Apr 43, pp. 229-42. (3) T/Os 5-16, 5-17, 1 Apr 



power. The most radical was the elimina- 
tion of the bridge company as an organic 
part of the battalion, and the attachment 
of such companies to armored divisions as 
needed. "The inclusion of this company 
in the battalion is believed to have been 
a step in the right direction in that it rec- 
ognized the need for armored engineers to 
have bridge equipment with them at all 
times, not back at the rear . . . available 
on call with considerable delay," he wrote. 
In combat, bridges would often have to re- 
main in place and the armored battalion 
might be left without this vital support if 
the equipment of only one company could 
be drawn upon. During the training period, 
one bridge company should be attached to 
each armored division. Overseas the num- 
ber of bridge companies attached should de- 
pend upon the tactical situation. Flexibility 
was the characteristic most desired. With 
the elimination of the bridge company as 
an assigned unit, Oliver argued, the engi- 
neer armored battalion could absorb an- 
other lettered company, and all four com- 
panies be composed of three rather than 
two platoons. The battalion commander 
would then have sufficient men to perform 
unforeseen tasks. The argument had more 
pertinence for armored than for infantry 
engineers. The armored division was ex- 
pected to spread out over a larger area. Be- 
cause of this dispersion engineers would 
have to be attached to combat teams or 
commands and could not be readily as- 
sembled as a unit. 9 Recognition of this fact 
enabled armored engineers to gain readier 
acceptance for their recommendations than 
did the proponents of more engineers in the 
infantry division. When the new T/O for 
the armored battalion was approved in 
March 1942 the number of lettered com- 
panies was raised to four, platoons per com- 

pany to three, and antitank weapons were 
provided. The bridge company was retained 
as an assigned unit until enough of these 
units had been organized to make attach- 
ment practicable. Under this temporary ar- 
rangement, the battalion had a strength 
of 1,174 officers and men or about 8 per- 
cent of the division. 10 

The second major characteristic of the 
reorganization of 1942 — the first being the 
trend toward larger units — was simplifica- 
tion of the organization of general units." 
At the close of First Army maneuvers in 
1941 Adcock had commented: 

I think the time has come to reconsider the 
necessity for so many types of general engi- 
neer units. The combat battalion, armored 
battalion, and squadron meet a specific need 
in their particular divisions. There appears 
to be no sound reason for the remaining three 
general engineer units (combat regiment, 
general service regiment, and separate bat- 
talion) to continue under separate tables of 
organization with different types of equip- 
ment. They should be just Engineer regi- 
ments. 12 

Although this was Kingman's view also, 
the goal was easier to agree upon than to 
attain. Fowler argued that placing all en- 
gineer troops in the same type of regiment 
would be difficult because of the disparity 
in numbers of specialists available for white 
and Negro units. Agreeing to the principle 
of simplification but advocating a different 
approach, the Engineer School suggested 

"Col. Lunsford E. Oliver, "Engineers With the 
Armored Force," The Military Engineer, XXXIII 
(September, 1941), 397-401. 

"T/O 5-215, 1 Mar 42. 

11 The main body of correspondence on this sim- 
plification is in: (1) 320.2, Pts. 30, 31; 320.2, 
Engrs Corps of, Pt. 15; (2) AGF 321, Engrs Binder 
2, Case 268, and Binder 1, Case 54 (S). 

ls Ltr, Adcock to CofEngrs, 25 Nov 41, sub: 
First Army vs. IV Army Corps Maneuvers (1st 
Phase). 354.2, Pt. 11. 



that all combat and most general engineer 
units be organized with type squads, pla- 
toons, and companies, and that the two 
combat regiments per type corps be re- 
placed by four combat battalions. Corps 
combat battalions would be similar to di- 
visional combat battalions. With such units, 
employment would be more flexible and 
control no more difficult. 13 Once again Fow- 
ler objected. What advantage lay in type 
squads and platoons if equipment was to 
vary? "We should not overlook the fact," 
he cautioned, "that an Engineer squadron, 
an armored battalion, a corps regiment, and 
a general service regiment have very differ- 
ent primary functions. There are far better 
reasons for having a single type truck in 
the Army." 14 Should combat regiments be 
broken down to form battalions the corps 
engineer would have to deal with four com- 
manders instead of two and suitable com- 
mands for Engineer colonels would vanish. 
Since there would also be an increase in 
strength, the General Staff was not likely 
to approve the change anyway. 

Sturdevant took still another tack. The 
constant threat from armor and planes had 
made an extended protection of flanks and 
rear necessary so that engineers in the field 
army were required in greater depth than 
previously. General service regiments and 
combat regiments were very nearly alike 
and had been used interchangeably in ma- 
neuvers but general service regiments had 
been handicapped by their smaller number 
of vehicles. The combat regiment should re- 
place the general service regiment in the 
field army; the general service regiment 
should be held in GHQ reserve for assign- 
ment to the communications zone. In 
March 1942 Sturdevant's plan was disap- 
proved, partly because it would have in- 
volved the activation of more combat regi- 

ments. By this time the War Department 
had become more economical of motor ve- 
hicles than of manpower and was further- 
more reluctant to take a step which so 
changed the concept of the engineer task in 
the field army — the use of combat troops for 
general construction. Under the new T/O 
which went into effect in the spring of 1 942 
the general service regiment gained only a 
few men. The combat regiment gained al- 
most 150, most of its new-found strength 
resulting from the reorganization of its six 
companies in the same fashion as those in 
the combat battalion. At the same time 
some of the combat regiment's construction 
machinery was eliminated. 15 

The attempt to cut down the types of en- 
gineer units continued. In January 1942, 
Sturdevant suggested the conversion of 
separate battalions into general service regi- 
ments. The need for so large a concentra- 
tion of common laborers in a separate bat- 
talion had disappeared. The plan for all 
separate battalions to be Negro was a dis- 
crimination the War Department wished to 
avoid. Separate battalions were cumber- 
some and ineffective; conversion would 
boost efficiency and morale. While laborers 
could not be converted into skilled workmen 
overnight merely by changing their name, 
they could be developed gradually within 
the regimental setup. Although Sturdevant 
did not wish to press the point until the 
question of substituting combat for general 
service regiments in the type army had been 
settled, by May he was ready to carry the 
fight to AGF. 

18 Rpt on Reorgn of T/O for Engr Bn Triangular 
Div, Incl with 1st Ind, Comdt Engr Sch to 
CofEngrs, 9 Dec 41, on Ltr, C of O&T Br to Comdt 
Engr Sch, 28 Nov 41. 320.3. 

14 Comments on School's Rpt, 10 Dec 41, by C of 
O&T Br. 320.2, Pt. 30. 

15 (1) T/Os 5-21, 5-171, 1 Nov 40. (2) T/Os 
5-21, 5-171, 1 Apr 42. 



On receiving Sturdevant's recommenda- 
tion, the AGF Operations Division accused 
the Engineers of devious plotting to motor- 
ize the engineer separate battalion and in- 
crease its technician and NCO grades. The 
Requirements Division joined in opposing 
the plan. The Training Division, on the 
other hand, could discern "no ulterior mo- 
tive seeking to motorize the Separate Bat- 
talion by indirection," and supported the 
Engineers." G-4 of AGF was inclined to 
side with the Training Division but feared 
the additional equipment could not be sup- 
plied, much less shipped. G-4 remained 
convinced that common laborers equipped 
with picks and shovels would be in demand 
overseas. views prevailed, but the En- 
gineers did not give up. In July 1942 they 
seized the opportunity to cite a cable from 
MacArthur's headquarters which stated 
that the separate battalion had too few of- 
ficers and not enough machinery to be of 
much use. Everyone, including the General 
Staff, now concurred, but actual conversion 
would have to be delayed until additional 
officers became available some time after 
the first of the year. 1T 

Aviation engineers had bridled somewhat 
under Kingman's insistence that the com- 
pany in the engineer aviation regiment and 
in the engineer aviation battalion be or- 
ganized in the same way as the combat 
company. At the beginning of 1942 the 
Engineer Section of the Air Force Combat 
Command prepared new T/O's which 
broke away from this concept, allowing 
higher grades as well as sufficient personnel 
for working in shifts. The new tables, fur- 
thermore, approved in April, also eliminated 
the separate engineer aviation company as 
too small for wartime service. Henceforth 
there was to be no distinction between the 
separate engineer aviation battalion and 

the battalion in the regiment; there was to 
be but one engineer aviation battalion pat- 
terned on the prewar separate engineer avi- 
ation battalion. To permit two- and three- 
shift operation of construction machinery 
substantial increases in the personnel of bat- 
talion headquarters were allowed. Lettered 
companies remained about the same size as 
the pre-F-earl Harbor combat companies, 
but they had more and heavier power equip- 
ment and were specifically designed for the 
primary mission of aviation engineers — 
constructing airfields. The basic engineer 
aviation unit was to be this battalion of 27 
officers and 761 men. 1 " 

The third major characteristic of the 
1942 reorganization was the perfection of 
the organization of special units. Aside from 
ponton and topographic units, special units 
had been slighted until relatively late in 
the defense period, when they were organ- 
ized experimentally and whenever pos- 
sible subjected to tests in maneuvers. This 
experience, together with new developments 
in equipment, enabled the Engineers to 
make firm recommendations. 

" M/S, Trig Div AGF to Rqmts and Opns Divs 
AGF, 11 May 42, sub: Elimination of Engr Sep 
Bns. AGF 321, Etigrs Binder 2, Case 268. 

" ( 1 ) 1st Ind, Hq AGF to CofEmjrs, 23 May 42, 
on Memo, ACofEngrs for CG AGF, 2 May 42, sub: 
Elimination of Engr Sep Bus. 320.2, Engrs Corps 
of (S). (2) Memo, Hq AGF for ACofS G-3 
WDGS, 19 Aug 42, same sub. Mob Br P&T Div file, 
Sep Bns-Rcorgn (S)- (3) Memo, ACofS G-3 
WDGS for CCs AGF and SOS, 31 Aug 42, same 
sub. Same file. 

* ( I } Personal Ltr, Col Rudolph E. Smyscr to 
EHD, 5 Jun 52. (2) Ltr, Smyser to Maj Gen A. C, 
Smith, 24 Dec 53. EHD files. (3) Ltr, CofS Hq 
AFCC to Chief of AAF, 2 Mar 42, sub: Rev T/Os 
for Avn Engr Units. AG 320.3 (10-3-41 ) (2), Sec. 
5, Bulky. {4} Bri K . Gen. Stuart C Godfrey, "Enei- 
neers With the Arrnv Air Forces," Aviation Engi- 
neer Notes, No, II (January, 1943), 34, USAF 
HD, 144.31 A, Jan 43. (5) T/Os 5-115, 5-416, 1 



Heavy ponton battalions and light pon- 
ton companies had been among the first 
special units to be formed, but by the end 
of 1941 improvements in equipment as well 
as changes in responsibilities made revisions 
in organization desirable. Comparison of 
the poor performance of general engineer 
troops with the excellent showing made by 
ponton troops at the 1941 maneuvers 
clinched the running argument as to which 
type of unit should have the primary re- 
sponsibility for building ponton bridges. 
In December, the Engineer School recom- 
mended that ponton units build as well as 
transport and maintain the bridges. The 
proposal soon became official doctrine. Gen- 
eral engineer troops were to assist the ponton 
units as necessary. 

The only change sought in the organiza- 
tion of the heavy ponton battalion was the 
inclusion of a light equipment platoon in 
battalion headquarters for the new ferrying 
equipment. The Engineers considered a 
greater increase in men and equipment es- 
sential for the light ponton company be- 
cause the adoption of heavier tanks neces- 
sitated more 10-ton bridging material for 
the same length span. The Engineer School 
suggested the formation of a light ponton 
battalion similar to the heavy ponton bat- 
talion, with a headquarters company, in- 
cluding a light equipment platoon, and two 
bridge companies. Each bridge company 
was to carry two units of 10-ton equipage, 
as compared to the three units carried by 
the previous company. The battalion would 
therefore have only one more unit (250 
feet) of bridging than the old company. 
The school figured that four units would 
enable a division to make a deliberate cross- 
ing over a river three or four hundred feet 
wide, with a partial reserve of material 
whether or not the bridge was reinforced. 

The slight change in the heavy ponton 
battalion met little opposition. The new 
T/O approved in April contained a 46- 
man increase, bringing the unit's total 
strength to 16 officers, 3 warrant officers, 
and 501 enlisted men. The shift from a light 
ponton company to a light ponton battalion 
was not granted, partly because of the 
added personnel required for a battalion 
headquarters. Moreover, the Engineer argu- 
ment that fewer men with better equipment 
were able to do more work was so convinc- 
ing that each company was given half the 
amount of new ferrying equipment that 
otherwise would have been supplied bat- 
talion headquarters, one unit of 10-ton 
bridging was withdrawn, and the company 
was reduced by two men. The April T/O 
for the light ponton company provided for 
6 officers and 2 1 3 men. 19 

The Engineers had been able to defer ac- 
tivation of a water supply battalion until 
August 1941 because divisional and other 
general engineer units had their own water 
supply equipment. Portable water purifica- 
tion equipment had been developed by the 
Engineer Board in co-operation with in- 
dustry to enable facilities to keep pace with 
troop movements. The water supply bat- 
talion was meant to supplement such facili- 
ties. It was provided with a much heavier 
mobile purification plant and with tank 
trucks for transporting water. A T/O for the 
battalion had been formulated in November 
1940, well before the first unit was activated. 

1B ( 1 ) Rpt on Reorgn of T/Os for Gen and Spe- 
cial Engr Units, 11 Dec 41, Incl with 1st Ind, Comdt 
Engr Sen to CofEngrs, 12 Dec 41, on Memo, C ot 
O&T Br for Comdt Engr Sch, 4 Dec 41, sub: Rev 
of T/Os. 320.2, Pt. 30. (2) Corresp in 320.2, Engrs 
Corps of, Pt. 15. (3) T /Os 5-87, 1 Aug 42; 5-275, 
1 Apr 42. (4) See above jpp. 51-52.| 



In April 1942 a well-drilling section was 
added to battalion headquarters and a re- 
distribution of personnel in the three lettered 
companies resulted in a 73-man increase. 20 

One new special unit was added to en- 
gineer troops at this time. In June 1941 the 
Chief of Engineers had included a forestry 
company among the units to be investigated 
by the Engineer Board and the board in 
turn employed E. E. Esgate, a forestry en- 
gineer, to study the matter. Esgate urged 
quick action. With extensive construction in 
a theater of operations a foregone con- 
clusion, the demand for lumber would be- 
come insatiable, he believed. In the United 
States the logging and milling industry had 
introduced much laborsaving machinery. 
Men who knew the business were therefore 
relatively few and most of them were too 
old to serve in the Army. But OCE was not 
sufficiently impressed with the urgency of 
the need. It was not until June 1942 that 
two companies of 5 officers and 166 men 
each, divided into a headquarters platoon, 
a logging platoon, and a manufacturing 
platoon equipped with a portable sawmill 
were activated. 21 

None of the three major characteristics 
in the 1 942 reorganization indicated a sharp 
break from pre-Pearl Harbor concepts of 
military organization. The tendency to in- 
crease the size of units had become appar- 
ent as soon as the Army began to receive 
more men. The goal of simplicity in organ- 
ization had also been enunciated before 
Pearl Harbor and the perfection of the or- 
ganization of special units was an objective 
which the Engineers had had in mind for 
a long time. The 1942 reorganization 
marked the culmination of prewar thought 
and was a final adjustment to a nebulous 

The Influence of Logistics on Engineer 

The emphasis on combat troops that 
characterized prewar thought was appar- 
ent in the troop basis of January 1942, 
which lumped combat and service units 
together. Of the 3,600,000 men expected to 
be under arms by the end of the year, 384,- 
000 were slated for GHQ reserve; 998,000 
for the AAF and its services; 1,300,000 for 
divisions, corps, and field armies; and 
232,000 for overseas garrisons and bases. 
Some 600,000 were to compose overhead, 
replacements in training, and harbor de- 
fense units. The Engineers were expected 
to organize 128 new ground units. Forty- 
seven were either divisional units or com- 
bat regiments, 12 were ponton units, and 
30 were general service regiments or sep- 
arate battalions which could be used either 
in the communications or the combat zone. 
There was no hint here of the great role 
service units were to play in the prosecu- 
tion of a global war. Special engineer units 
were supposed to round out the organiza- 
tion of field armies. No clear-cut distinc- 
tion had been made between units needed 
to support combat operations and those re- 
quired for more extensive logistical support 
in the rear. Maintenance, depot, and dump 

w ( 1 ) Thompson, What You Should Know About 
the Army Engineers, pp. 158-65. (2) T/O 5-65, 1 
Nov 40. (3) T/O 5-65, 1 Apr 42. 

For additional information on engineer water 
supply activities both in the United States and in 
the theaters of operations, see William J. Diamond, 
"Water is Life," The Military Engineer, XXXIX 
(March-June, August, October, 1947). 

"(1) Corresp in 400.34, SP 335, Pt. 1. (2) 
Memo, AC of O&T Br for Opns Div SOS, 4 Apr 42, 
sub: T/Os—Engr Railway Shop Bn (Diesel) . 320.2, 
Pt. 32. (3) DF. AGofS G-3 to TAG, 18 Apr. 42, 
sub: Engr T/Os. AG 320.3 (10-13-41) (2) Sec. 5, 
Bulky. (4) Hist of 800th Engr Forestry Co in United 
States and Africa, 13 Jun 42-13 Dec 43. AG ENCO 
80-0.3 (13364). 



A lean Highway, British Columbia, May 1942. 

truck companies, general service regiments, 
and separate battalions all had this dual 
function. Sturdevant's early efforts to rec- 
tify the situation by eliminating general 
service regiments from the army echelon 
had failed. 23 

Strategy soon altered this distribution. 
Except in the Philippines the first phase of 
the United States involvement in the war 
did not lead to a large-scale clash of ground 
troops with the enemy. This phase of the 
war was a defensive one in which the 
United States sought to preserve its lines of 
communication with its Allies and bases 
overseas. While the Navy protected these 
lines by sea the Army tried to improve 
communications by land and to establish 
military bases. The initial effort was thus 

logistical and spurred the growth of service 
units. The Engineers had to answer an early 
and persistent call for construction troops 
to circle the world with airfields, to build 
strategic roads in Canada and Alaska, 
China and Burma, and to provide shelter 
for troops and supplies everywhere. 

It soon became clear that there were not 
enough engineers. In February 1942 the 
War Department decided to transfer the 
building of bases in Iran and Egypt from 
civilian contractors to engineer troops. Be- 
cause general service regiments had neither 
the equipment nor the skills to take up 

22 (1) Memo, ACofS G-3 (G-3/645 7-433) for 
CofEngrs, 15 Jan 42, sub: Mob and Tng Plan, 
Jan 42. 370.93, Mob Tng Ser. Nos. 50 to Folio 3. 
(2) For d iscussion of d epot and maintenance units, 
see below, |pp. 227-29. | 



where the contractors had left off, OCE de- 
signed a special service regiment about the 
same size as a general service regiment but 
containing more skilled workers who could 
operate the machinery used by the contrac- 
tors. A total of nine special and general serv- 
ice regiments were added to the troop basis 
for this mission. About the same time the 
Engineers began to organize three more gen- 
eral service regiments to construct bases for 
the build-up in Britain. By April the plan 
to militarize construction in the Middle 
East was all but canceled. The shortage of 
shipping which was to become a dominat- 
ing influence on the strategy of the war had 
for the first time intruded upon the opera- 
tions of the Corps of Engineers. Instead of 
some 16,000 engineer troops embarking for 
Egypt and Iran, as first planned, only 1,100 
were to go. 23 

While few of these regiments were used 
as intended, it was fortunate they had been 
organized. In April the War Department 
became more deeply involved in planning 
for the build-up of American forces in 
Britain and demands for engineer troops 
immediately rose by nearly 24,000 men, 
most of whom were destined for service 
units. On top of this came an addition of 30 
aviation battalions to the troop basis — more 
than doubling earlier estimates of require- 
ments. 24 The troop basis of July 1942 re- 
flected the trend toward service units — a 
trend which was to continue throughout the 
war. (Table 4) 

Substantial as was the increase in en- 
gineer service units in the troop basis of 
July 1942 it was still too small. A month 
after its publication Reybold was pleading 
for the transfer of six general service regi- 
ments from AGF to SOS control. All but 
one of the regiments originally destined for 
the Middle East had moved out on other 

Table 4 — Engineer Units in Troop Basis: 
January 1942 and July 1942 


Aviation regiment 

Combat regiment, . . _ 

General service regiment 

Special service regiment 

Armored battalion 

Aviation battalion 

Camouflage battalion 

Combat battalion 

Heavy ponton battalion 

Motorized battalion 

Separate battalion 

Topographic battalion (GHQ). 
Topographic battalion (Army). 

Water supply battalion 

Engineer squadron 

Depot company 

Dump truck company 

Light ponton company 

Maintenance company 

Topographic company(Corps). 
Heavy equipment company- . 
Heavy shop company 










+ 14 



+ 27 


+ 3 



+ 4 





+ 3 



+ 2 













+ 2 



+ 2 





+ 13 



+ 11 



+ 6 



+ 5 



+ 4 



+ 1 



+ 5 

a No engineer aviation units included in Troop Basis of January 

Source: (1) Trp Unk Basis for Mob and Tng, Jan 42. AGF 
3674-58, Mob and Tng Plan, 1942 (C). (2) Incl, Trp Basis for 
Mob and Tng, 1942, with Ltr, AG 320.2 (7-3-42) MS-C-M, 18 
Jul 42. 370.93 (C). 

missions. Civilian laborers for construction 
jobs already under way in the Caribbean, 
Greenland, and Alaska were becoming 
harder and harder to hire. Troops would no 
doubt have to finish these projects as well 
as man scores of others from start to finish. 

23 (1) Corresp in 322, Engrs Corps of, Activation 
of Constr Units, Folder 1 (S). (2) Memo, C of 
O&T Br for CGs Engr Units for Militarization of 
Overseas Constr, 19 Mar 42. 322, Engrs Corps of, 
Activation of Constr Units, Folder 2 (S). 

21 ( 1 ) Memo, Deputy Dir Opns SOS for ACofS 
G-3, 23 May 42, sub: Rqmts of Sv Units Which 
Should Be Activated by 31 Dec 42. EHD files. (2) 
Ltr, C of Sup Div to CG SOS, 27 Apr 42, sub: Proc 
Program. 400.12, Pt. 1 (C). 



AGF balked at the transfer. Units the size 
of a battalion or regiment should be trained 
with other soldiers for better teamwork in 
battle. AGF's demurrer had scarcely been 
received when Reybold boosted his request 
to twelve regiments. He got what he had 
asked for originally. At the end of October 
the General Staff transferred six regiments 
from AGF. 25 

Even as the Engineers were striving to 
satisfy the demand for standard service 
units, new and specialized functions were 
thrust into the foreground. Invading armies, 
seeking footholds on the continent of Europe 
and on the islands leading to the Japanese 
homeland, faced manifold amphibious 
landings to gain beachheads. A major land- 
ing, involving great numbers of troops and 
a sustained offensive inland, would require 
the full facilities of large seaports. Petroleum 
products in unheard-of amounts would be 
consumed. So new, so specialized were the 
units organized by the Engineers for am- 
phibious operations, for the distribution of 
petroleum products, and for the rehabilita- 
tion of ports, that their stories will be told 
separately in Chapters XVI, XVIII, and 
XVII. 2 " 

The transition from a peace to a war 
footing had been completed by the end of 
1942, but the adaptation of engineer units 

to the demands of global warfare remained 
to be made. In the first months after Pearl 
Harbor the mobilization of men and equip- 
ment took top priority. There had been little 
opportunity to reconsider the organizational 
and doctrinal pattern elaborated in peace- 
time. The first enemy blows had to be met 
within the existing military framework. The 
reorganization of 1942 was not designed to 
alter that basic pattern, but rather to round 
it out. Yet even before the reorganization 
had been completed, the Engineers began 
to feel the impact of strategic and logistic 
requirements. The demand for logistical 
units was to continue to grow in volume. 

15 ( 1 ) Ltr, CofEngrs to CG SOS, 13 Aug 42, sub: 
Activation of Additional Gen Sv Regts. 320.2, 
ASFTC Camp Claiborne. (2) Min, Staff Conf SOS, 
23 Sep 42, sub: Resume of Matters Presented at 
Staff Conf, 22 Sep 42. 337, Staff Confs. (3) Corresp 
in AG 320.2 (8-13-42) (C). 

28 The specially equipped engineer airborne avia- 
tion battalion was also authorized in 1942. See 
below jp. 315] 

The T/O for another engineer unit, the engineer 
airborne battalion of the airborne division, was is- 
sued in September 1942, following the War Depart- 
ment's decision to activate two airborne divisions. 
The T/O for the engineer airborne battalion called 
for 23 officers and 401 enlisted men organized into 
a headquarters company, a parachute company, and 
two glider companies. Five such units were even- 
tually activated. ( 1 ) Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, 
op. cit., pp. 93-98, 340-41. (2) T/O 5-255, 5 Sep 


Accelerated Training 

The demand for the organization of spe- 
cialized units was but the last hurdle in an 
unprecedented race to fill the already swol- 
len Engineer troop basis. Pearl Harbor sig- 
naled a period of urgency in which to get 
as many men as possible organized into 
units and readied for commitment overseas. 
At first getting the requisite number of men 
presented no obstacle. The supply of man- 
power seemed inexhaustible. The most 
formidable block to Engineer preparations 
in 1942 was the shortage of officers and the 
training of the 241,733 enlisted men called 
into the Engineer service. 

The Shortage of Officers 

Months before the Engineers glimpsed 
the full measure of their commitments, they 
expressed concern about the dearth of ex- 
perienced leaders. The detail of one officer 
to the General Staff in January caused 
Sturdevant to object that "we need every- 
body we now have for troops." He conceded 
that the Officer Candidate School would 
produce "some 4,000 green officers" in the 
next twelve months, but he warned, "if we 
are to build efficient organizations we cer- 
tainly need some leavening experience to 
guide them." 1 There was reason for his con- 
cern. The Engineers faced a cut in their 
allotment from West Point. They had re- 
ceived fifty of the Academy's 1941 gradu- 
ates. In June 1942 they would receive only 
thirty-nine and six of these would go di- 
rectly to the control of the Air Forces or 

Armored Force. By March most of the Re- 
serves would have been called into active 
service. The new crop of ROTC graduates 
would add a few hundred. Culling the lists 
of former Reserves and transferring some 
from non-Engineer to Engineer service 
might yield a few hundred more. But for 
the most part the Corps had to look to 
other sources than those that had supplied 
the officers for units activated during 1940 
and 1941. 

On 3 January 1942 Bessell, the chief of 
the Military Personnel Branch, described 
the sources to be tapped. Approximately 
1,000 Reserve officers would be called to 
active duty within the next few months, 
placed in a pool, and given refresher train- 
ing. The output of the Officer Candidate 
School had been expanded from 230 to 
1 ,000 per quarter. Finally, authority would 
be sought to commission 500 officers from 
civil life, not for duty with troop units but 
for assignment to desk jobs with the mili- 
tary construction program so that a corre- 
sponding number of troop-age officers then 
employed on that program could be as- 
signed to engineer units. 2 

'Memo, ACofEngrs (Sturdevant) for CofEngrs, 
31 Dec 41. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 14. 

2 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, Lt Col William N. Leaf, Senior 
Instructor Engr Tactics USMA to C of Mil Pers 
Br, 19 May 42. 210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 21. (2) 
2d Ind, O&T Br to TAG, 21 Jan 42, on Ltr, TAG 
to OCE, 26 Nov 41, sub: Tng Res Offs at Sv Schs. 
353, Orgn Res, Pt. 14. (3) Rpt of Activities of Mil 
Pers Br Wk Ending 17 Mar 42. 020, Engrs Corps of, 
Jan-Mar 42. (4) Memo, C of Mil Pers Br for C of 
Adm Div, 3 Jan 42. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 15. 



Prominent among the arguments ad- 
vanced in support of the consolidation of 
the military construction program under the 
Corps of Engineers had been that it would 
save administrative overhead. The existing 
field organization of the Engineer Depart- 
ment, overwhelmingly staffed by civilians, 
could handle the job. Officers had already 
been released from the Engineer Depart- 
ment and could continue to be released and 
replaced by commissioning these civilians. 
Having confidence in this logic the Military 
Personnel Branch believed that the Engi- 
neer Department could disgorge even more 
officers than would have to be replaced by 
appointments from civil life. The expecta- 
tion in January 1942 was that something 
in excess of 500 officers would become avail- 
able for assignment to troop duty via the 
military construction program. 

In accordance with this understanding 
the Military Personnel Branch sent an ad- 
vance warning to Division and District 
Engineers. For months the branch had 
been coding applications for commissions. 
The districts would soon receive a list of 
names of individuals considered suitable to 
replace troop-age officers. The districts 
should meanwhile submit the names of 
those to be replaced. The response to this 
communication was far from gratifying. 
After declaring flatly that no surplus of 
officers existed, the Engineer of the Lower 
Mississippi Valley Division named nine offi- 
cers of troop age, all of whom he considered 
key men who should not be removed unless 
there was no alternative. A review of the 
replies from the field showed that most of 
the names submitted for release were those 
of Quartermaster officers, who, even had 
they been suitable for assignment to engi- 
neer troop units, could not be considered 
eligible because they were slated to be re- 

turned to their own corps. Bessell, hastening 
to disclaim any intended interference with 
the progress of the construction program, 
promised to restrict transfers to those officers 
declared surplus by District and Division 
Engineers. 3 

About this time the Construction Di- 
vision, worried about the fact that its pro- 
gram was behind schedule, lined up squarely 
behind those who claimed there was no 
surplus. Robins, its chief, had become con- 
vinced that there were too few officers on 
military construction projects, and on 24 
March 1942 directed Division and District 
Engineers to take on more. Fully aware, 
however, that few Regulars would be as- 
signed to construction duties in the future 
and that pressure to release Reserves of 
troop age would continue, he urged the 
field to prepare to staff itself with officers 
commissioned from civil life. Hard on top of 
this communication Division Engineers re- 
ceived a telegram from the Military Per- 
sonnel Branch, asking for immediate sub- 
mission of the names of company grade offi- 
cers who could be released without violating 
Robins' directive. The officers were needed 
for the construction units then being acti- 
vated for work in the Middle East and did 
not have to be of troop age. Only after the 
Military Personnel Branch phoned to read 
off the names of the first group of officers to 
be reassigned did the Construction Division 
learn about the existence of the telegram. 
The howl of pain that went up swelled into 
a roar of indignation when the Construction 

3 (1) C/L 1090, 19 Jan 42, with longhand note, 
sub: Reasgmt and Repl of Trp Age Offs Now on 
Constr Duty. 210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 18. (2) 
Ltr, Miss. River Commission and Lower Miss. Val- 
ley Div Engr to CofEngrs, 6 Feb 42, same sub. 
210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 19. (3) Ltr, C of Mil 
Pers Br to Great Lakes Div Engr, 19 Feb 42, same 
sub. Same file. 



Division found that twenty Engineer offi- 
cers had been removed without its knowl- 
edge. The disgruntled deputy chief of the 
Construction Division, on seeing another list 
of officers slated to go, commented that, al- 
though the release of a few of them might 
actually be an advantage, on the whole the 
action would disrupt the construction pro- 
gram. A meeting with Reybold was sched- 
uled forthwith. 4 

The resulting clarification of policy put a 
considerable brake upon the activities of the 
Military Personnel Branch. Immediate ob- 
jectives were set forth as follows: 

a. The expeditious and efficient prosecu- 
tion of the war construction program. 

b. To maintain the proper number of offi- 
cers required for the prosecution of the war 
construction program. 

c. To make maximum use of over troop- 
age officers and of officers appointed from 
civil life for special service who have had no 
military training. 

d. To release troop-age officers qualified 
for duty with troops to the maximum extent 
consistent with a and b above. 

That much being a victory for the Construc- 
tion Division, the field was again urged to 
bring in replacements as understudies to 
troop-age officers and was put on notice 
that no officers of troop age would be as- 
signed to construction duties except in "very 
unusual cases." 5 The Construction Division 
was resigned to this policy as applied to the 
future, but continued to resist the reassign- 
ment of its experienced officers. "I'd like to 
remind you," the South Atlantic Division 
Engineer told the chief of the Construction 
Division's Operations Branch in mid-April, 
"that they've just taken five regulars from 
me and are only giving me one in return." 
The chief of the Operations Branch 
doubted that anything could be done about 
it. Although he was inclined "to turn down 

all these requests for pulling people away," 
he was "under constant pressure" to release 
Regular troop-age officers other than Dis- 
trict Engineers and their top assistants. 6 
Still the Construction Division did succeed 
in holding up a good many transfers. Only 
fifty out of ninety officers listed by the field 
as subject to reassignment in late April were 
approved for release. 7 

Meanwhile, after the publication of the 
January 1942 Troop Basis, the Engineers 
arrived at a better estimate of officer re- 
quirements. With 131 new units scheduled 
for activation, more than 8,000 officers 
would be needed with troops alone by the 
end of the year. As of March 1942 there 
were 823 Regulars, 5,453 Reserves, 504 
National Guardsmen, and 106 officers com- 
missioned from civil life- — a total of 6,886 
distributed as follows : overhead, 83 1 ; con- 
struction duty, 2,070; service commands, 
389; and troops, 3,596. With a large 
military construction program scheduled 
through 1942, the Engineers would have to 
add about 4,500 officers to serve with 
troops. The bulk of them would be gradu- 
ates of the Officer Candidate School 
(OCS). 8 

When the Army offered enlisted men the 
opportunity to become candidates for com- 
missions in July 1941, the main value of the 

4 (1) C/L 1423, 24 Mar 42, sub: Off Pers on 
Constr Projects. (2) Personal Ltr, ACofEngrs 
(Robins) to Col John S. Bragdon, South Atlantic 
Div Engr, 24 Mar 42. 210.1, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 7. 
(3) Memoranda in 210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 12. 

3 C/L 1479, 13 Apr 42, sub: Mil Pers Policies: 
Asjrmt of Constr and Utilities Offs. 

* Tel Conv, Bragdon, South Atlantic Div Engr, 
and Col Strong, C of Opns Br Constr Div, 1 7 Apr 
42. Groves files, Airfields. 

7 Rpt of Activities of Mil Pers Br for Wk Ending 
24 Apr 42. 020, Engrs Office C of, Apr-Jun 42. 

8 (1) Ltr, CofEngrs to TAG, 12 Feb 42, sub: 
Allot of Grads USMA, Class of 1942. 210.3, Engrs 
Corps of, Pt. 19. (2) Ann Rpt OCE, 1942. 



innovation was believed to lie in the boost it 
would give morale and the opportunity it 
would afford to put the talents of outstand- 
ing selectees to better use. Only secondarily 
was the program intended to provide a 
cushion in case of further expansion of the 
Army. Although officer candidates were sup- 
posed to represent the cream of the citizen 
soldiers, the more important of the standards 
which the Army established as a guide to 
selecting them were so indefinite that much 
was left to personal judgment. The most im- 
portant qualification of all — potential lead- 
ership — was completely undefined. The 
candidate's ability to learn was deemed suf- 
ficient if he had achieved a score of at least 
110 (Classes I and II) on the Army Gen- 
eral Classification Test. The Army did not 
exclude anyone solely because of lack of 
formal education. It was enough if the can- 
didate possessed "such education or civil or 
military experience as will reasonably in- 
sure . . . satisfactory completion of the 
course" although for certain services, the 
Corps of Engineers among them, more 
weight was to be given to the individual's 
technical preparation." 

The graduate of OCS was not expected 
to know much. At the end of the twelve- 
week course he was supposed to have ac- 
quired sufficient knowledge to perform 
"reasonably" well the duties of a junior 
officer in a unit undergoing training. He 
would come to the unit as an apprentice 
with enough general information to enable 
him to profit from the practical experience 
he would get thereafter. Perhaps he would 
take advanced courses later, but this was 
not the concern of the OCS. 10 The course of 
study offered at the Engineer OCS at Fort 
Belvoir was designed to teach the candidate 
how to lead enlisted men in the performance 
of engineer duties. Success in attaining even 

this objective, as experience invariably dem- 
onstrated, depended as much upon the 
caliber of candidates received at the school 
as upon the course of study and quality of 
instruction. Twelve weeks was too short a 
time to turn an engineer soldier into an 
Engineer officer— even a green Engineer 
officer — unless the individual had much to 
offer at the outset. The first class of Engi- 
neer officer candidates — the only class to 
graduate before Pearl Harbor — enrolled at 
the Engineer OCS on 7 July 1941. Sixty- 
seven of the ninety-seven students gradu- 
ated. The second group, which entered 
the last week of October, contained 218 
candidates, 167 of whom were successful. 
This second was the last class chosen for 
reasons of morale. The next group of 
candidates, which entered in January, was 
more than a third again as large as the 
second, and, had its quota been filled, would 
have been more than twice as large. The 
fourth class was indeed twice as large. It 
entered two weeks after the third so that a 
production of 4,000 officers could be 
achieved in 1942. On 16 January G— 3 
directed the Engineers to fix the capacity of 
their OCS at 3,680. By the end of May 
additions to the troop basis had created a 
demand for 1,200 more officers. Plans were 
immediately laid to expand the school's 
capacity to reach 5,160 by 30 September. 

9 ( 1 ) Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, and Wil- 
liam R. Keast, The Procurement and Training of 
Ground Combat Troops, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948), 
pp. 327-28. (2) Watson, Chief of Staff, p. 271. 
(3) WD Cir 126, 28 Apr 42. 

The following discussion of the Engineer Officer 
Candidate School, unless otherwise indicated, is 
based upon Outten J. Clinard and George H. Mc- 
Cune, A Survey of the Source Materials for a His- 
tory of the Engineer Officer Candidate Course, an 
unpublished study with supporting documents, in 
EHD files. 

10 Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, op. ext., pp. 331, 361. 



In establishing criteria for the selection 
of candidates the War Department deemed 
it "desirable" that Engineer candidates 
have "an engineering degree or equivalent 
knowledge or special mechanical or engi- 
neering training." 11 In the atmosphere of 
scarcity which prevailed during 1942, 
quantity became the overriding factor. 
Quality, while not forgotten, was a luxury 
the Army could not afford. The sacrifice 
of quality to quantity showed itself both in 
the selection of candidates and in the lower- 
ing of standards for graduation. Ac- 
customed to high professional competence 
and qualities of leadership in their officers, 
the Engineers refused to accept the inevi- 
table without a struggle. But it was lack of 
intellectual attainments, rather than leader- 
ship, that the Engineers deplored most often. 
The conviction seemed to be that ability to 
lead would follow in the wake of knowledge. 
To the extent that confidence grows with 
knowledge this was sound reasoning. It was 
also true that many of the tasks performed 
by the Engineers did not call for the same 
degree of courage as those demanded in the 
combat arms but did call for special knowl- 

Complaints about the poor educational 
background of Engineer candidates began 
in March 1942 when the commanding gen- 
eral of the Engineer Replacement Training 
Center (ERTC) at Fort Belvoir despaired 
of filling his quota. Of 3,050 men then at 
the ERTC, he could produce only 52 with 
a year or more of study in engineering, 
geology, architecture, or science, and only 
1 1 having college degrees with majors in 
any of these subjects. Some of these men 
would choose to attend the OCS of other 
branches; some would not have the neces- 
sary aptitude for leadership. After getting 
a similar report from the other ERTC at 

Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Sturdevant 
asked The Adjutant General to correct this 
situation. Sturdevant was at a loss to un- 
derstand why the Engineers were not receiv- 
ing more college graduates since he under- 
stood that almost 4 percent of all inductees 
had bachelor's degrees. He agreed that lack 
of formal education should not be estab- 
lished as an absolute barrier to officer can- 
didacy but hastened to point out that "in a 
technical arm or service the officer personnel 
must include a large percentage of tech- 
nically trained individuals." He asked that 
the Engineers be accorded a greater share of 
men with degrees in engineering or allied 
subjects and a larger share of those who, 
while not college graduates, had had some 
college courses in engineering. 12 

By the end of the month OCE had heard 
the same story from the OCS commandant. 
"The Engineer Officer Candidate School 
is not receiving the calibre of men who 
should be available," wrote Brig. Gen. Ros- 
coe C. Crawford. Only about 6 percent of 
the candidates were college graduates in 
engineering and this was the group most 
likely to succeed. Over 90 percent with en- 
gineering degrees had been graduated from 
OCS as against 82 percent with degrees 
in other subjects and 77 percent who 
had some college courses in engineering. 
Although Crawford naturally urged that the 
number of engineers be increased, he was 
willing to settle for what he could get. "The 
only definitely unfavorable group is that 
which did not graduate from high school," 
he wrote on 31 March 1942. "It is believed 
that every effort should be made to send to 

11 WD Gir 126, 28 Apr 42. 

12 1st Ind, ACofEngrs (Sturdevant) to TAG, 14 
Mar 42, on Ltr, CG ERTC to CofEngrs, 2 Mar 42, 
sub: Shortage of Trainees with College Engineering 
Education. 353, ERTC Ft. Belvoir, Pt. 1. 



the Engineer Officer Candidate School not 
only the largest possible number of engi- 
neering college graduates, but also interested 
applicants otherwise suitable who have at 
least one year of college, not necessarily in 
engineering. High school graduates without 
college training will also be acceptable if 
they are suitably qualified by outstanding 
leadership and engineering experience." 13 
Concerned about quantity, the War De- 
partment was inclined to think the stand- 
ards for selection as established by the Engi- 
neers, the Ordnance Department, and the 
Signal Corps were set too high. These serv- 
ices must abandon peacetime notions, the 
War Department wrote on 6 April 1 942 : 

While in peace, the bulk of the officers of a 
technical branch may be engaged in planning, 
research, design and construction duties de- 
manding a higher degree of training along 
those lines; in war the bulk of the officers of 
those branches is employed with field force 
units of the branch in support of the combat 
arms. While this higher training is a definite 
asset it is not an essential requirement of a 
platoon or company commander of a tech- 
nical unit supporting the combat arms. The 
required basic knowledge of planning and 
construction by these commanders is taught 
at the officer candidate schools. 14 

In view of the growing number of large- 
scale construction projects being handled by 
engineer troops overseas, this statement had 
but limited application to the Corps of 
Engineers. The selection of officers with 
civilian education or experience was essen- 
tial. The high rate of failures in the Engi- 
neer OCS further reflected this viewpoint, 
that only qualified men could fill such posi- 
tions. G— 1, still concerned over quantity, 
expressed displeasure at the fact that about 
one fourth of the Engineer candidates had 
failed to graduate. Sturdevant reluctantly 
adopted the position of his superiors. The 

War Department's "concept of officer quali- 
fications . . . must be accepted as correct," 
he wrote to Crawford on 20 April. "Much 
as high professional qualifications are to be 
desired, an unpredictable expansion of the 
Army can only result in a lowering of stand- 
ards which must be accepted as a necessary 
sacrifice." OCS had to assume the respon- 
sibility for instructing the candidates re- 
ceived. "A high rate of attrition may be as 
much of an indictment of the methods of 
instruction as of the quality of the candi- 
dates," he concluded. 15 

Crawford did not agree that quantity 
was that important, but he nevertheless ex- 
pressed concern about the number of fail- 
ures. He saw four ways in which to reduce 
them. Standards for graduation could be 
lowered even though he believed they were 
already at the danger point. "To make fur- 
ther concessions is not a matter of making a 
necessary sacrifice," as Sturdevant had 
phrased it, "it is more a question of accept- 
ing a disaster. . . . We are making no 
compromise on the quality of our guns, 
tanks, planes, etc. Why compromise on the 
most vital thing to the whole effort — leader- 
ship?" He agreed with Sturdevant that an- 
other way to reduce the number of failures 
was to improve the quality of instruction. 
The OCS had too few instructors and the 
ones they had were not good enough. Re- 
peated attempts to get officers from the field 
had been largely unsuccessful. The faculty 
had of necessity been built up from gradu- 

13 Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch to CofEngrs, 31 Mar 42, 
sub : Standards of Engr Off Candidates. Clinard 
and McCune, op. cit., App. 

"Ltr, AG 352 (4-5-42) MT-A-M to All 
Comdrs, 6 Apr 42, sub: Off Candidates, Tech Brs. 
Clinard and McCune, op. cit., App. 

15 Ltr, ACofEngrs (Sturdevant) to Comdt Engr 
Sch, 20 Apr 42, sub: OCS Standards of Perform- 
ance. Clinard and McCune, op. cit., App. 



FORD, Commandant of the Engineer 
School, June 1940 until November 1943. 

ates of officer refresher courses and from the 
OCS itself. "Until properly qualified in- 
structors in sufficient numbers are made 
available . . ., we should accept as a nec- 
essary sacrifice," using Sturdevant's phrase 
again, "a smaller number of graduates." 
Along with getting more and better instruc- 
tors Crawford favored continuing the strug- 
gle for better candidates. Meanwhile the 
OCS had introduced a fourth way to sal- 
vage more candidates by giving those who 
seemed able but slow ( about 1 percent of 
each class) more time to adjust. After five 
weeks at the school these men were placed 
in a special unit for two weeks after which 
time they were either returned to the course 
or discharged. 1 * 

Sturdevant had meanwhile visited the 
ERTC at Fort Leonard Wood and in- 
formed its commander, Brig. Gen. Ulysses 

S. Grant, III, that he must fill his quota. Up 
to that time the center had refused to ap- 
point candidates with less than two years 
of college or engineering experience. Grant 
lowered these standards reluctantly, warn- 
ing that the selection of men with only a 
high school education and no experience in 
engineering would only add to the number 
of failures at the school. 

By summer the War Department had 
modified its position somewhat. In June and 
July it recognized the existing shortage of 
Engineer candidates and directed other 
arms and services to cull their ranks for 
highly qualified men, particularly graduate 
engineers, and any others with engineering 
training or experience. But in mid-Septem- 
ber, with Engineer OCS quotas still unfilled, 
the War Department became alarmed at 
the fact that some boards had excluded men 
simply because they lacked the technical 
and educational background indicated in 
the directives of the previous summer. The 
War Department pointed out that while 
such highly qualified candidates were de- 
sirable, the quotas should be filled out with 
men of intelligence and native ability, the 
real essentials for success at OCS. 

If ability to learn as measured by AGCT 
scores had been the only criterion for a suc- 
cessful officer the Engineers would have had 
no cause to complain. Of 21,958 candidates 
enrolled between 21 March 1942 and 1 
April 1944 all had received high marks 
and a good many of them exceptionally 
high marks on the Army General Classifi- 
cation Test. Eleven percent tested 140 or 
over; 22.6 percent scored between 130 and 
139; 34.9 percent between 120 and 129; 
and 27.4 percent between 110 and 119. 

10 1st Ind on ltr cited| n. 15 
op. ext., App. 

Clinard cCune, 



While ability to learn was a great asset in 
developing leadership, it provided no abso- 
lute insurance. For the Engineers it was par- 
ticularly difficult to fill quotas with potential 
leaders because the Engineers were assigned 
so few enlisted men in Classes I and II from 
which all officer candidates had to be se- 
lected. During the period March-August 
1942 only 23.4 percent of the men assigned 
to the Corps of Engineers were in Class I 
and II — the lowest percentage of all the 
arms and services. Although the Engineers 
fared better during the year 1943 when this 
percentage rose to 29. 1 ^ they remained in an 
unfavorable position as compared to most 
other branches. Under such circumstances 
replacement training centers and unit com- 
manders found themselves hard put to give 
much weight to potential leadership or to 
formal education; the most they could do 
was to find men who met the specified 
standards of intelligence. 

One reason why the Engineers did not 
succeed in getting more men in the higher 
classes was the persistence of the idea that 
the Corps could function perfectly well with 
large masses of common laborers. Although 
the Engineers took every opportunity to 
point out the fallacy of this idea, it would 
not down. The other reason for their failure 
to gain access to the most suitable sources 
was the preferential treatment accorded the 
AAF in the assignment of personnel. Under 
a policy established in February 1942, 75 
percent of all white enlisted men destined 
for the AAF were to have scored at least 
100 on the AGCT. The objections of AGF 
and SOS received some consideration in the 
fall of 1942 when the percentage was low- 
ered to 55, but the fact remained that the 
top cream had been skimmed before AGF 
or SOS were allowed into the market. 17 

The educational background of Engineer 

candidates was therefore limited. During 
the period 21 March 1942 to 1 April 1944 
candidates with undergraduate degrees in 
engineering numbered only 1,750 or 8 per- 
cent of the 21,958 enrolled. The number of 
college graduates holding degrees in sub- 
jects other than engineering was but 3,698, 
or 16.8 percent. A much larger number — 
8,568 or 39 percent — had some college edu- 
cation. Most of the remainder — over 25 
percent of the total enrollment — were high 
school graduates only. During the early 
period of peak demand for officers the per- 
centage of candidates with college degrees 
must have been even lower than 8 percent 
because after January 1943 ROTC gradu- 
ates began to enter OCS and by 1944 com- 
prised a large percentage of the student 
body. Since the OCS failed to receive the 
number of highly qualified men desired, the 
administration strove all the harder to im- 
prove the quality of instruction in order to 
produce satisfactory officers. 

As Crawford had pointed out in March 
1942, the school had tried unsuccessfully to 
secure officers with field experience to act as 
instructors. In the spring and summer of 
1 942 the school had to turn to its own grad- 
uates to fill the growing vacancies on the 
faculty. By August 1942, 35 percent of the 
instructors had less than three months' com- 
missioned service. That month the situation 
was bettered by the introduction of a rota- 
tion system. Under this setup a number of 
officers having at least a year's experience 
with troops were to be assigned to the school 
faculty each month, their places to be taken 
by inexperienced second lieutenants who 
had been acting as instructors. Following 
assignment to the faculty the experienced 
officers would enter newly activated units. 

lr Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, op. cit., pp. 17, 18, 
21, 23-26. 



"The many advantages of such a rotation 
policy can be easily seen," the Engineers ad- 
vised the Director of Military Personnel, 
SOS. "The Engineer School gains instruc- 
tors with experience in the field, newly acti- 
vated units obtain a source of experienced 
personnel, troop units receive qualified loss 
replacements junior in rank to those officers 
on duty with the unit." 18 

The rotation system was one of two means 
adopted by the school in an effort to raise 
the standard of instruction. The other, in- 
troduced about the same time, was a course 
in instructional methods. Like other courses 
in methods of teaching, this one stressed ef- 
fectiveness of presentation, and through 
classroom observation and conference gave 
personal guidance to the teacher. The in- 
auguration of the instructional methods 
course and the receipt of more teachers who 
were experienced with troops combined to 
improve the quality of instruction during 
1943, but by this time the desperate need 
for officers had passed and the school's 
capacity had been lowered. 

During the first two years of its existence 
the course of study given at the Engineer 
OCS varied little. Even lengthening the 
course to seventeen weeks in July 1943 
brought only slight changes in subject mat- 
ter. In the space of twelve weeks the can- 
didates took about forty subjects varying 
in length of instruction from one to fifty 
hours. About one third of the school hours 
were allotted to pioneer and Engineer sub- 
jects, the remainder to subjects common 
to all arms and services. Although a good 
many subjects were introduced by lectures, 
conferences, and demonstrations, and some 
of the shorter courses were entirely confined 
to this method, the school gave as much 
instruction as possible by means of practical 
work. Thirty-one of the thirty-seven hours 

allotted to the study of floating bridging 
were set aside for exercises, including a night 
crossing in assault boats. Such exercises 
satisfied several purposes. They revealed a 
candidate's knowledge of the subject and 
his ability to put his knowledge into practice. 
They afforded an opportunity for develop- 
ing initiative, judgment, and the ability to 
organize a job and give orders, as well as a 
means of observing whether or not the can- 
didate was developing such skills satisfac- 
torily. 19 In order to be commissioned the 
Engineer candidate had to attain an average 
of at least 70 in both academic subjects and 
leadership qualities. In arriving at this aver- 
age, school administrators assigned some 
subjects such as bridging and operation of 
construction machinery and some qualities 
of leadership more weight than others. 

Almost 12,000 candidates were supposed 
to be sent to the Engineer OCS to fill classes 
slated to graduate during 1942. Of the 
10,999 that actually entered, 8,925 gradu- 
ated. In terms of quantity the Engineers 
were over the hump by the end of that 
year. The class which graduated on 2 1 July 
1943 was the last large one, the quota hav- 
ing been slashed drastically from 700 to 
160 the preceding May. During the nine- 
teen-month period between January 1942 
and July 1943 the OCS produced 16,742 
successful candidates out of a total enroll- 
ment of 21,569. Despite the turn-back 
system to afford slow learners an opportu- 
nity to catch up, the school rejected over 22 
percent of those who entered. 

While the demand for officers was at its 
height, however, the percentage of those 

18 Ltr, AC of Mil Pers Br to Dir of Mil Pers SOS, 
27 Jun 42, sub: Instructors for Engr Sch. 210.3, 
Engr Sch, Pt. 4. 

"Lesson Asgmts for OCS, 20 Apr 42; 2 Nov 42; 
1 Apr 43; 1 Jul 43. EHD files. 



failing to graduate was consistently less. The 
class which finished on 30 May 1942 gradu- 
ated 86.4 percent of its candidates, prac- 
tically by order, 20 and throughout the rest 
of that year no class failed to graduate less 
than 80 percent of those who entered. Be- 
ginning in January 1943 the percentage of 
failures began to climb again. The class 
which finished on 28 April had a mortality 
rate of over 30 percent — about the same as 
that of the school's first class when morale 
had been the keynote of the officer candi- 
date program. The average thereafter was 
closer to one third than to one quarter. 

In each class there were some individuals 
who dropped out because of physical dis- 
ability or other reasons. In fact in a good 
many classes those relieved for such causes 
outnumbered those who failed because of 
deficiencies either in leadership or in course 
work. During the period of peak capacity at 
OCS physical disability and similar causes 
accounted for 6.3 percent of the failures. 
The greatest number — 7.5 percent — was 
judged lacking in ability to lead. Failures 
because of academic deficiencies accounted 
for 3.3 percent while 4.3 percent fell down 
on both leadership and grasp of subject 

It may appear inconsistent that after ob- 
jecting so strenuously to the receipt of can- 
didates who had not been to college, the 
OCS failed so many candidates on leader- 
ship rather than on academic grounds. Sev- 
eral factors must be considered before com- 
ing to this conclusion. The primary mission 
of OCS being to develop leaders, more was 
expected of candidates on this score. Acad- 
emic subjects were extremely simple. Much 
of the candidate's grasp of the subjects 
taught was measured by written tests, where 
a good memory went a long way toward the 
achievement of a passing grade. A candidate 

might easily reel off bridge capacities, but 
he might find it more difficult to take his 
place in the group erecting the bridge, and 
he might find his knowledge too slight in- 
deed to enable him to take command of the 
group with the assurance demanded of a 

The Engineers' insistence on the impor- 
tance of previous education proved jus- 
tified. As class after class entered and 
graduated it was demonstrated over and 
over again that candidates with degrees 
in engineering had the best chance to suc- 
ceed and college graduates with majors in 
other subjects the next best. Of students 
enrolled between March 1942 and June 
1944, 81.3 percent of those with engineer- 
ing degrees and 80 percent of those with 
college degrees in other subjects graduated, 
as compared with 73.4 percent of those 
who had gone no farther than high school 
and 61.8 percent who lacked a high school 

The Engineers realized from the begin- 
ning that even though officer candidates 
might possess a solid technical background, 
their very youth would preclude much 
working experience. The supply of Re- 
serves which contained older men with sev- 
eral years background in construction had 
dried up early in 1942. The sudden demand 
in the spring of that year for officers to 
man the units being activated for construc- 
tion duties in the Middle East led the Corps 
of Engineers for the first time to commission 
civilians for assignment to troop units. The 
specialized nature of the duties which gen- 
eral and special service regiments were sup- 
posed to perform in the Middle East de- 
manded much in the way of construction 
experience, little in the way of military 
knowledge. As the demand for construction 

20 Memo, Gen Crawford for Authors, 23 Dec 53. 



units mounted, the Corps of Engineers 
found civilian sources increasingly inviting. 21 
In January 1942 the Military Personnel 
Branch had about 9,000 applications from 
civilians desiring commissions in the Corps 
of Engineers. After a preliminary selection 
of applicants on the basis of information 
coded on machine records cards, applicants 
were to be interviewed. The Military Per- 
sonnel Branch expected Division and Dis- 
trict Engineers to do most of this interview- 
ing. In order to be commissioned direct 
from civil life, a man had to be over thirty, 
have had some previous military training, 
and must not be under orders for induction. 
But military and age requirements might be 
waived if it could be proved that the indi- 
vidual's specialty rendered him extraordi- 
narily well qualified for a particular assign- 
ment. The War Department allotted a 
quota of civilian commissions to each 
branch. 22 

On 12 April 1942 the War Department 
approved the commissioning of 568 officers 
for assignment to the units slated for the 
Middle East. The following month the En- 
gineers received authority to commission 
350 more civilians for service with forestry 
companies, aviation battalions, and utilities 
detachments. The first week in June they 
were authorized another 1,000 for the re- 
cently activated Engineer Amphibian Com- 
mand. In July, Fowler, alarmed at reports 
of new units filled up with OCS graduates 
who knew little or nothing about the opera- 
tion and maintenance of construction ma- 
chinery, suggested that additional civilian 
sources be tapped. Shortly afterward God- 
frey registered similar misgivings about the 
officers coming into aviation battalions and 
also asked for civilians. In line with Fowler's 
suggestion, on 19 August the Military Per- 
sonnel Branch put in a requisition for 450 

civilians having five or more years' experi- 
ence as highway contractors. Godfrey's plea 
was acted upon the following week in a 
request for 300 civilians with experience in 
supervising earth-moving operations on air- 
port or highway construction. 23 

During the first half of 1942 the Engi- 
neers selected civilians for commissions in 
accordance with the system suggested by 
Bessell in which most interviewing and, in 
some cases, locating suitable individuals was 
accomplished by District and Division of- 
fices. The Engineers were pleased with the 
results. Almost 3,500 officers (most of them 
for the military construction program in the 
United States) had been obtained. On 
6 July 1942 the War Department set up a 
central Officer Procurement Service and 
curtailed some of these activities. Hence- 
forth the Engineers were to draw up specifi- 
cations for the type of individuals wanted 
and to cite the specifications desired 
upon submitting requisitions. They were to 
stop trying to find potential officers, al- 
though if they happened to know of a par- 
ticular individual who could fill a particular 
bill they could so advise the Officer Procure- 
ment Service. 

The Engineers did not fare very well un- 
der the new arrangement and said so. On 10 

21 Unless otherwise cited, this section on civilian 
commissioning is based upon correspondence in 
210.1, Engrs Corps of, Pts. 5 and 7. 

22 ( 1 ) Memo, C of Mil Pers Br for McCoach, 5 
Jan 42, sub : Appointments of Offs From Civil Life 
and From Among Former Offs. 210.1, Engrs Corps 
of, Pt. 4. (2) Ltr, AG 210.1 (1-21-42) RB-A to 
Cs of Arms and Svs et al., 26 Jan 42, sub: Ap- 
pointments of Offs From Civil Life in AUS. P&T 
Div file, ROTC— Policies— Grads, Offs. 

(1) Draft Memo, C of Sup Div, 8 Jul 42. 337, 
Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, Engr AAF to CofEngrs, 12 Aug 42, 
sub : Commissioning Offs From Civil Life for Duty 
With Avn Engr Units. 210.1, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 6. 
(3) Ltr, AC of Mil Pers Br to TAG, 19 Aug 42, 
sub : Commissions in AUS. Same file. 



October 1942, six weeks after requisitions 
for 750 construction men had been sent in, 
the Military Personnel Branch claimed that 
the Officer Procurement Service had pro- 
duced only ten acceptable applicants. Call- 
ing attention to this, the Engineers urged a 
return to the old system. Actually, steps lead- 
ing to a compromise had already been taken. 
On 9 October the Officer Procurement 
Service agreed to allow the Engineer field 
offices to locate construction men once 
again. By 27 October the Officer Procure- 
ment Service had turned up 58 men; the 
Engineers had found 230 apparently good 

Through the good offices of Brig. Gen. 
Joseph N. Dalton, Assistant Chief of Staff 
for Personnel, SOS, the Military Personnel 
Branch and the Officer Procurement Serv- 
ice succeeded in establishing more har- 
monious working relationships. The Officer 
Procurement Service demonstrated that the 
Engineers were at least partly to blame. 
During the period 20 August to 3 1 October, 
the Officer Procurement Service asserted, 
it had submitted over a thousand applica- 
tions to the Engineers, and it charged that 
745 of them were still pending in the Mil- 
itary Personnel Branch. The Officer Pro- 
curement Service asked the Engineers to 
furnish more details about desired quali- 
fications. By November Bessell was con- 
vinced that the joint effort would work. 
But there was many a slip between a good 
prospect and a commissioned officer. As of 
22 December 1942 only 132 men had been 
commissioned and only 37 more applica- 
tions were pending. The Engineers then 
concluded that limitations of age and vul- 
nerability to the draft were responsible for 
this situation and requested a relaxation of 
these restrictions. 

This request came in the midst of the War 

Department's announced determination to 
cut down drastically on the number of com- 
missions from civil life. From the over-all 
point of view the shortage of officers had 
been overcome. The production of Officer 
Candidate Schools would more than satisfy 
requirements for 1943. The War Depart- 
ment wished to afford officers and enlisted 
men already in the Army an opportunity to 
move into positions commensurate with the 
experience they had acquired. If civilians 
continued to be commissioned in large num- 
bers such opportunities would be curtailed. 
Commissions from civilian life should be 
restricted, therefore, to highly skilled indi- 
viduals who could not be produced through 
the officer candidate program. The Corps of 
Engineers expressed alarm at the possibility 
of being cut off from civilian sources. With 
the lowering of the draft age to 18 the pros- 
pect of receiving skilled individuals at OCS 
became dimmer than ever. Only through 
civilian sources could they find the 3,000 ex- 
perts required in 1943. The General Staff 
recognized, at least in part, the validity of 
the Engineer case. Highway, airport, and 
building construction contractors, experts in 
petroleum distribution, and electrical engi- 
neers were included in the short list of 
specialists who could be commissioned from 
civilian life. But the General Staff refused 
to allow the Engineers anything approach- 
ing the 3,000 men they wished. All of ASF 
(exclusive of the Surgeon General's Office, 
the Corps of Chaplains, and the Provost 
Marshal General's Office) was given an 
over-all procurement objective of only 3,250 
for the year 1943. 

The Engineers continued to insist that 
OCS graduates could not fill all the vacan- 
cies. In March 1943 they asked permission 

24 Rpt of Activities of Mil Pers Br for Period End- 
ing 30 Oct 42. 020, Engrs Office C of, Oct-Dec 42. 



to commission 3,500 civilians during the 
next nine months and suggested that the 
capacity of OCS be reduced by that 
amount. On 13 October, the War Depart- 
ment cut off appointments from civil life 
altogether. During the eighteen months that 
this source was open the Corps of Engineers 
commissioned 5,616 civilians for service 
with troop units. 25 

The variety of sources which the Corps 
of Engineers drew upon to provide leaders 
for troop units radically altered the charac- 
ter of its officer personnel. Almost overnight 
this group changed from a homogeneous 
to a heterogeneous one, from a group of 
men with similar backgrounds to one with 
all manner and degree of professional and 
military training and experience. To strive 
for homogeneity was as unnecessary as it 
would have been impossible, for as the War 
Department had pointed out in connection 
with the officer candidate program, the 
needs of the small peacetime Corps were 
quite different from those of the wartime 
Corps. The duties of an officer in the peace- 
time Corps were apt to be comprehensive; 
he was in much the same position as the 
only boss of a small firm. The wartime 
Corps was a huge factory where workers 
and bosses alike could specialize. Even so, 
the Corps of Engineers, like any other or- 
ganization, had to provide the newcomer 
with a certain amount of special back- 
ground before he could assume his duties, 
however limited. The OCS was one means 
of accomplishing this objective; another 
was provided by the Engineer School in a 
program of instruction for officers that was 
adjusted to the diverse backgrounds of those 
who attended. 

The shift from a peacetime to a wartime 
curriculum at the Engineer School had be- 

gun in the summer of 1 940 with the institu- 
tion of a four-week (later five- week) re- 
fresher course to bring Reserve officers 
abreast of the latest military doctrine. In 
October, after the passage of the Selective 
Service Act and the calling up of the Na- 
tional Guard, the school replaced the re- 
fresher course with a five-week instructor 
course. Graduates of the instructor course, 
mostly National Guard officers, were being 
groomed to instruct the cadres for the pro- 
jected ERTC's. Three instructor courses 
with a total capacity of 550 officers were 
planned. Afterward there was supposed to 
be a reversion to refresher courses, but in 
February 1941 the Engineers decided to 
continue instructor courses through the 
summer. Instead of being assigned to teach 
at the replacement training centers many 
graduates of the first instructor courses had 
been sent to troop units because of delays in 
the opening of the ERTC at Fort Leonard 
Wood. 26 

Only two more refresher courses were 
given after Pearl Harbor — one for Reserves 
and the other in the summer of 1942 for 
ROTC graduates. Thereafter ROTC grad- 
uates attended OCS, and in fact made up 
the bulk of that student body during 1944 
and 1 945 . Like the ROTC graduates, newly 
commissioned officers from West Point came 
to Fort Belvoir prior to assignment. Here, in 
six weeks, the school touched the high spots 
of the nine-month course they would have 

25 ( 1 ) Rpt of Activities of Mil Pers Br for Period 
Ending 15 Mar 43. 020, Engrs Office C of, Jan- 
Mar 43. (2) Ltr, CofS ASF to Cs of Tech Svs et al., 
18 Oct 43, sub: Cancellation of Proc Objectives. 
210.1, Pt. 1. (3) Alphabetical Roster of Offs Com- 
missioned From Civil Life, 9 Nov 43. Plan Br Mil 
Pers Div OCE. 

28 ( 1 ) 352.11, Pt. 9. (2) 352.11, Pt. 10. (3) P/I 
Instructor Course, Incl with Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch 
to TAG, 24 Jul 41, sub: Rpt of Opns of Engr Sch, 
1940-41. EHD files. 



normally had in peacetime, emphasizing the 
theory and practice of military engineering 
and the instructional methods used in the 
Army. 27 

The output of the refresher courses and 
of the Military Academy graduate course 
was small as compared with two other gen- 
eral courses — the divisional training course 
and the field officers' course — which were 
offered for the first time during 1942. The 
divisional training course was established in 
January for battalion staff officers and com- 
pany commanders slated for assignment to 
newly activated divisions. The idea was to 
weld these officers into a team by giving 
them practical instruction in planning and 
supervising unit training and in administra- 
tion. Between January 1942 and June of 
the following year, 371 officers completed 
this four-week course. The field officers' 
course had its origins in O&T's concern over 
the relatively poor showing made by Re- 
serve and National Guard officers at the 
1941 maneuvers. In February 1942 the 
Engineer School enrolled 43 of this group in 
an advanced course for three months. When 
the time came for a second class there were 
no students. Field officers could not be 
spared for such a long time. Still the need 
existed. "No instruction is given at the 
School other than in the Divisional Train- 
ing Course to fit officers ... for duty as 
battalion staff officers," Crawford pointed 
out in June. "There is also a distinct gap 
between the basic instruction in the Corps 
of Engineers and the instruction for division 
staff officers as carried out by the Command 
and General Staff School . . . ." He 
proposed a two-month field officers' course, 
soon to become the most heavily attended 
general course given. The first class opened 

on 7 September 1942. A total of 2,487 offi- 
cers had graduated by the time the fifty-fifth 
class finished on 20 October 1945. 28 

By the summer of 1943 all but the field 
officers' course and the Military Academy 
graduate course had been dropped from 
the school's general training program. The 
four-week divisional training course, given 
until 1 May 1943, was broadened to admit 
officers of nondivisional units. Renamed the 
cadre officers' course, it offered the key of- 
ficers of the cadre an opportunity to work 
together before activation of a unit. Begin- 
ning in August 1 943 the course was divided 
into two sections corresponding to the prin- 
cipal categories of officers attending — a 
combat section and a section for general 
service regiments and other units. When, in 
the spring of 1943, the Engineer Unit 
Training Center at Camp Claiborne, 
Louisiana, was directed to transfer the mili- 
tary training being conducted for officers 
appointed from civil life to Fort Belvoir, 
the Engineer School established a basic of- 
ficers' course from which 817 were gradu- 
ated within the next two years. Later in 
1943, when the Engineers received by trans- 
fer about 1,600 OCS graduates of other 
arms and services, the school instituted an 
Engineer training course which gave these 
men the equivalent of the engineering sub- 
jects that were offered at the OCS. During 

27 ( 1 ) WD Special Staff Hist Div, Schooling of 
Commissioned Officers, Corps of Engineers, 1 Jul 
39-30 Jun 44. (Hereafter cited as Schooling, Com- 
missioned Officers.) (2) Clinard and McCune, op. 
cit., p. 14. (3) Memo 12, Engr Sch for All Con- 
cerned, 19 Feb 43, sub: Resume of Courses. 210.63, 
Engr Sch. 

3 ' ( 1 ) Quote is from Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch to 
CofEngrs, 17 Jun 42, sub: Field OfFs Course. 
352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 13. (2) Interoffice Memo, 
O&T Br for Mil Pers Br, 6 Jan 42, sub: Detail of 
Offs to Advanced Course, 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 12. 
(3) Schooling, Commissioned Officers. 



1944 the Engineer School taught a more 
advanced course to some 1,400 AGF of- 
ficers who had had troop experience and 
civilian training in engineering. 29 

The third and most important means of 
developing efficient leaders for engineer 
troops was the school of experience with 
troop units. On first being assigned to a 
unit, most OCS graduates displayed lack 
of confidence and initiative and a reluc- 
tance to accept responsibility, but after two 
or three months' service, most of the men 
began to act like officers. Comments from 
overseas on the performances of junior offi- 
cers varied. Some European commanders 
expressed complete satisfaction with OCS 
graduates; others believed that faulty meth- 
ods of selecting candidates resulted in offi- 
cers commanding men who were their su- 
periors in education and background. All 
theaters complained about the lack of tech- 
nical competence among junior officers. 
From Europe came reports that they pos- 
sessed scanty knowledge about the opera- 
tion and maintenance of construction ma- 
chinery and that few were prepared to 
handle jobs in depots or perform other sup- 
ply functions. From the Southwest Pacific, 
where construction operations overshad- 
owed all other engineer tasks and where 
machinery was often operated twenty hours 
a day, came the most severe criticisms. 
Commanders in this theater expected Engi- 
neer officers to know construction machin- 
ery and how to organize and supervise a 
construction job. All echelons of command 
agreed that the combat training given at 
OCS was out of all proportion to what was 
needed in the Pacific. The OCS began to re- 
spond to such complaints in the spring of 
1 944. By fall of that year, hours allotted to 

the operation and maintenance of engineer 
equipment had been increased from twelve 
to eighteen, engineer reconnaissance from 
ten to sixteen. Eight hours had been added 
to the study of military geography and ten 
hours to the study of land mines. Hence- 
forth more weight was given to academic 
deficiencies than to failure to meet stand- 
ards of leadership. This shift came too late, 
however, to have any appreciable effect up- 
on the mass of officer candidates who had 
been rushed through training in the des- 
perate attempt to provide leaders for the 
units being activated in 1942. ao 

Engineer Replacement Training 

Until the spring of 1941 newly inducted 
men went directly to units for a full year of 
service. During the rest of 1941, however, 
recruits reported to replacement training 
centers established under the direction of 
the various arms and services. At these cen- 
ters, individual instruction in simple mili- 
tary procedures could be standardized. The 
men would then be ready for group train- 
ing immediately upon reaching their units. 
Relieved of the task of basic training, units 

28 (1) 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 13. (2) Memo, O&T 
Br for Comdt Engr Sch, 1 Apr 43, sub: Rev of 
Courses at Engr Sch. 352.11, Engr Sch, Pt. 16. (3) 
Memo, O&T Br for CG ASF, 31 Aug 43, sub: 
Cadre Offs Course. Same file. (4) Memo, Asst ExO 
Tng Div ASF for CofEngrs et al., 12 May 43, sub: 
Schs for Offs at Unit Tng Centers. EHD file, Special 
Tng EUTC, Heavy Shop, 1943-44. (5) Memo, Mil 
Pers Div ASF for CofEngrs, 6 Aug 43, sub: Diver- 
sion to CE of Offs of Other Brs. P&T Div file, Engr 
Tng Course — P/I Gen. (6) Memo, ACofEngrs 
(Sturdevant) for ACofEngrs (McCoach), 16 Aug 
43, same sub. Same file. (7) Ltr, C of WPD to 
Comdt Engr Sch, 30 Dec 43, sub: Program of In- 
struction, Engr Tng Course. 352.11, Engr Sch, 
Pt. 17. 

80 Robert B. Killingsworth, School Training, pp. 
43-45. MS in EHD files. 



were expected to attain a higher level of 
preparation in much less time. 31 

Under this system all engineer troops went 
to ERTC's under the direction of the Corps 
of Engineers for twelve weeks of intensive 
basic military and engineer training. Some 
specialist instruction was supposed to be 
given during the twelve-week program, but 
the Engineers soon abandoned this effort 
and concentrated upon teaching the recruit 
the basic duties of an engineer soldier. The 
emphasis in this stage of mobilization was 
upon the production of fillers for newly ac- 
tivated units and in the latter part of 1 94 1 
the product was sufficient — some 5,000 men 
each month. 

This orderly arrangement did not last. 
Activations of engineer units in 1942 be- 
came so numerous that the ERTC's could 
no longer meet demands. No expansion of 
facilities was allowed. Therefore, only units 
slated for early movement overseas could 
draw upon the centers for fillers. Most of the 
remaining product replaced cadres with- 
drawn to form new units. The urgent re- 
quirement for service units in 1942, coupled 
with the fact that such units had a high per- 
centage of technicians, led the War Depart- 
ment to channel the great bulk of branch- 
trained fillers into SOS organizations. With 
the supply still insufficient, 28 training bat- 
talions at AGF centers converted to branch 
immaterial and funneled some 80,000 men 
into service units, including engineer, be- 
tween July and October. So few ERTC fill- 
ers were available for the engineer units 
serving with the AAF that in November 
1942 the AAF withdrew from this system 
entirely, setting up its own facilities for 
training engineer recruits. Despite all these 
provisions, a great part of the engineer unit 
fillers in 1942 came to be once more selectees 
straight from reception centers, without any 

intermediate training at replacement cen- 
ters. 32 

It was not surprising that one of the 
ERTC's was located at Fort Belvoir, tradi- 
tionally an Engineer center, in spite of 
limited room for expansion in the adjacent 
well-populated farming area. Fort Belvoir 
encompassed a 10-squ are-mile area 20 
miles south of Washington, D. C, on the 
Potomac River, a short distance below 
Mount Vernon, in the gently rolling tide- 
water district of Virginia. Just to the north 
of Fort Belvoir, across U.S. Highway No. 1, 
lay a run-down farm, much of it covered 
with a young growth of pine and scrub oak. 
This became the site of the first ERTC, 
opened in March 1941, a typical wartime 
cantonment with neat rows of two-story 
frame barracks liberally punctuated with 
chapel spires. 33 

The second ERTC, opened in May 1941, 
was at Fort Leonard Wood in south-central 
Missouri. In sharp contrast to the soft out- 
lines of the cultivated Virginia countryside, 

31 Unless otherwise noted, this section on replace- 
ment training is based upon: (1) 353, RTCs, Pt. 1; 
(2) 353, ERTC Belvoir, Pt. 1; (3) 353, ASFTC 
Wood; (4) 353, Tng, Ft. Lewis; (5) Wood, 353.01, 
TngScheds; (6) 333.1, ASFTC Wood; (7) Belvoir, 
333.1, Investigations and Inspecs, 1941-42; (8) 
353.15, ERTC Belvoir; (9) 353.15, ASFTC Wood; 
(10) Wood, Ft. Wood Ne ws Clippings; (11) Pam- 
phlet, prepared by Adj ERTC Belvoir, 18 Aug 42, 
sub: The ERTC, Ft. Belvoir, V a . Belvoir, 680.1 
RCs, 1940-42; (12) Training of Replacements, 
Fillers, and Cadres, Corps of Engineers, 6 Mar 41- 
30 Jun 44 (based upon reports submitted by the 
ERTC's, and hereafter cited as Tng of Repls). MS, 

32 ( 1 ) Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, op. cit., pp. 
170-79. (2) Info Bull 81, 12 Mar 41. (3) For dis- 
cussion of aviation engineers, see below, Chapter 

"Tl) Info Bull 81, 12 Mar 41. (2) OCE, Real 
Estate Progress Rpt, 30 Apr 42. (3) OCE Quar- 
terly Inventory : Owned, Sponsored and Leased 
Facilities, 30 Jun 44, p. 93. (4) Rough Draft, Hist 
of Engr Tng Center. Post Hq, Belvoir. 



this site lay within the Mark Twain Na- 
tional Forest, in the rocky northern foothills 
of the Ozarks. The military reservation ex- 
tended over 113 square miles of rugged 
cavernous limestone and sandstone hills, 
heavily covered with pine and hardwood 
forests and interlaced with numerous clear 
spring-fed streams. The cantonment area 
was built on a level ridge just to the west 
of the broad twisting loops of the Big Piney 
River, a stream about forty feet wide, well 
suited for ponton bridge training. Like 
the Belvoir ERTC, this center enjoyed a 
moderate climate. Although the summers 
were hot, the mountains and forests de- 
flected the worst of the Great Plains weather, 
and although snow fell during the winter it 
lasted but a short time. In spite of their 
rough beauty and mild climate, these foot- 
hills had attracted few permanent settlers. 
There were no towns of any size within thirty 
miles. The closest railroad line was nearly 
twenty miles away. Cities such as St. Louis, 
Springfield, and Jefferson City were all 
about a hundred miles from the center. 34 

It was apparent at once that the replace- 
ment training centers could not supply the 
number of men required by the Army in 
the early months of 1942. Within a week 
after the Japanese attack, G-3 held a con- 
ference to discuss how to spread this train- 
ing so as to reach more men. The War 
Department recognized the desirability of 
having all its ground force fillers supplied 
to units through replacement training cen- 
ters rather than directly from reception 
centers, but realized that replacement 
centers could not be expanded at a rate 
commensurate with the growth of the Army. 
But the need for men, whether completely 
trained or not, was immediate and urgent. 

In order to increase the output, the Chief of 
Staff favored reducing the time spent at 
replacement centers from twelve to eight 
weeks. G-3 believed twelve weeks necessary 
for adequate instruction. Nevertheless, the 
representatives at this meeting were in- 
structed to prepare for the reduction. 35 

In cutting replacement training to eight 
weeks on 19 December 1941, the War 
Department directed that as few subjects 
as possible be eliminated. Less time to in- 
dividual subjects was the preferred method 
of effecting the reduction. Emphasis was 
to be placed upon basic individual military 
training common to all arms. Subjects in- 
volving team training could be dropped if 
absolutely necessary. The Operations and 
Training Branch, OCE, was fortunate in 
having just completed a revision of its 
twelve-week program which differed con- 
siderably from the existing published pro- 
gram of 1940 and represented a more 
realistic scheduling of subjects and hours 
based upon several months' experience at 
Belvoir and Wood. This new program was 
the basis for the eight-week revision. 36 

' Table 5 j 

a * (1) Inventory cited |n. 33| (3), p. 107. (2) Fred 
W. Herman, "Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri," The 
Military Engineer, XXXIII (March-April, 1941), 
108-10. (3) Brief Summary of Events Leading up 
to the Acquisition and Use of Fort Leonard Wood, 
Mo, Groves files, Misc Papers. (4-) Memo, V. W. 
Whitfield, Dir Div of Opns, for Col B. M. Casteel, 
Administrator, 8 Jul 40, sub: Inspec of Proposed 
Mil Reservation, Missouri National Guard. QM 
601.1, Seventh Corps Area — Seventh Corps Area 
Tng Center. 

35 ( 1 ) Ltr, TAG to CGs Corps Areas et al, 4 Oct 
41, sub: RTC Capacity. Wood, 324.71, Selectees 
(AG). (2) Ltr, TAG to CGs All Armies and Corps 
Areas et al, 2 Sep 41, sub: Additional RTC Ca- 
pacity. 680.1, RTC, Pt. 1. 

""Ltr, S-3 ERTC Wood to OCE, 18 Dec 41. 
352.11, ASFTC Wood, Pt. 1. 



No subjects were dropped. Most of the 
reduction was accomplished by cutting off 
the last four weeks of training. The resulting 
program produced a basic infantry soldier 
and secondarily an engineer since the great- 
est reduction was in technical subjects that 
had been stressed toward the end of the 
training period. Presumably, Engineer sub- 
jects were the ones which could best be post- 
poned for unit training. The product of the 
ERTC would be physically hardened and 
know the fundamentals of soldiering but 
would be barely introduced to the essentials 
of military engineering. 

After a few confusing days at a reception 
center, the prospective engineer soldier was 
rushed to the replacement center. There he 
was given inoculations and a GI haircut, 
issued a gas mask, rifle, bayonet, and an 
assortment of clothes, assigned to strange 
barracks, and informed that he was quar- 
antined for two weeks. During those two 
weeks of semiconfinement he drilled and 
marched, pitched tents, watched training 
films, saluted, and finally did not much care 
whether he was quarantined or not. Then 
he graduated to the obstacle course for ad- 
vanced training in agility and endurance. 
This device for physical conditioning origi- 
nated at Belvoir in 1941 and was copied 
immediately thereafter by other Army train- 
ing centers. It was constructed on the 
most difficult terrain available and was 
usually an irregular horseshoe about 500 
yards long and wide enough to accommo- 
date several men at once. Barriers placed at 
intervals along this course required the men 
to climb cargo nets, jump hurdles, crawl 
through pipes, hop along a pattern of auto 
tires, and swing across a ditch of muddy 
water. The course could be made progres- 
sively harder, depending upon the speed at 

which it was run, the type of uniform worn, 
and the amount of equipment carried. 37 

During the first four weeks of drilling and 
physical conditioning the trainee spent many 
hours learning to fire the rifle, a recognition 
by the Engineers that the "one thing that is 
more important to the soldier than anything 
else is to be able to shoot straight and fast." 38 
Ammunition during the spring of 1942 had 
to be carefully conserved. Only after much 
practice in "dry runs" and many hours of 
coaching in the correct positions was the 
trainee finally permitted to fire the rifle on 
the range. The hours devoted to marksman- 
ship amounted to more than one week out of 
the eight, or 15 percent of the scheduled 
hours of training. 59 

The trainees were assigned to training 
groups which were organized along regi- 
mental lines, with battalions, companies, and 
platoons. The groups conducted all basic 
military and tactical work. The ERTC staffs 
gave little actual instruction, acting instead 
as co-ordinating agencies in the use of 
training sites and materials. Individuals 
from these staffs circulated through the 
training areas to advise company officers and 
to fill in as needed in incidental instruction. 
They acted as full instructors only in certain 
of the Engineer subjects such as road build- 
ing, which required the operation of power 

In addition to the regular training of the 
normal selectees, the centers after July 1941 
developed alternate programs for men with 
mental, emotional, physical, or educational 

37 (1) "Military Obstacle Course," The Military 
Engineer, XXXIII (July-August, 1941), 274-75; 
"Super Obstacle Course Unveiled at Fort Belvoir," 
lor. cit. (November, 1941), 504. (2) Duck Board, 
13 February 1942 (publication of ERTC Bel- 
voir) . EHD files. 

™Duck Board, 13 February 1942. 

39 (1) Ltr, S-3 ERTC Wood to OC E, 18 Dec 41. 
352.11, ASFTC Wood, Pt. 1. (2) See |Table 5.] 


Table 5 — Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1940-41 



Basic, total. 

Battalion commander's address 

Articles of War and Army Regulations- 
Military courtesy.. 

Guard duty 

Sex hygiene 

Hygiene and sanitation 

First aid 

Defense against chemical attack 

Care and maintenance of equipment 

Display of equipment and tent drill 

Marches and camps 

Close order drill 

Extended order drill 

Physical training 

Field days 


Technical total 


Marksmanship, rifle 


Grenade, hand 


Antiaircraft firing 

Operation and use of .30-cal. machine gun 


Field fortifications and camouflage 

Use and supply of tools, equipment, and 




Demolitions and mining 

Roads, construction and maintenance 

General construction 

Engineer reconnaissance 

Night operations, technical 


12 Weeks 
5 Sep 1940 

12 Weeks 
August 1941 
Wood Actual 

12 Weeks 
June 1941 
Belvoir Actual 

12 Weeks 
20 Dec 1941 

8 Weeks 
19 Dec 1941 



J jZ 

y j 

1Z/. jU 


1 no 




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3 7? 






\ "? 7^ 



} 6 



3. 75 



S. 75 





D, ( D 





Z 7Z 





71 7C 
Z J. / J 


1 7 


1 Q 

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41. 25 

























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Table 5 — Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1940-41 — 

12 Weeks 

12 Weeks 

12 Weeks 

12 Weeks 

8 Weeks 


5 Sep 1940 

August 1941 

June 1941 

20Dec 1941 

19 Dec 1941 

Wood Actusl 

Belvoir Actu.4.1 

X Ll U 1 1 8 J l-C-ti 

Tactical, total 






Scouting and patrolling 


7. SO 





Tactics of infantry platoon . _ 


26. 25 




Tactics of infantry company 


Night operations, tactical- _ . 


4. 25 




Defense against air and mechanized at- 






Open time.. . . 






■No breakdown of hours for each subject available. 

Sourer: (1) MTP 5-1, 5 Sep 40. (2) MTP 5-2, 20 Dec 41. (3) Memo, AC of O&T Br for G-3, 19 Dec 41, sub: Curtailment of Tng 
in RTCs, with Incl, Sec. II, Program I, MTP 5-2. 353, RTCs, Pt. 1. (4) Ltr, ERTC Wood to CofEcgrf, 19 Aug 41, sub: Tng Program 
for Second Increment of Trainees. 353, ASFTC Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., 31 Jan 45, Bulky. (5) Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 
4 Jun 41, aub: Rev of Mob Tng Program, with 2d lnd, CG ERTC Belvoir to TAG, 4 Jun 41, with Incl, Tng Memo 64. 370.93, Mob 

handicaps. 40 In August, Belvoir converted 
three white platoons from one battalion and 
one Negro platoon from another into a spe- 
cial training company. By January 1 942 this 
responsibility had been spread to the chree 
groups, one platoon in each group being 
filled with handicapped trainees. Although 
the Wood ERTC did not organize a formal 
unit for this training until October 1941, 
by August 1942 it had established special 
classes for several hundred illiterates, 11.7 
percent of the Negro complement and 1.7 
percent of the white, to enable them to read 
signs and directions, write letters, and do 
basic arithmetic. In October, one white 
company and two platoons from one Negro 
company were designated to form this unit. 
At both centers the men who were eventu- 
ally assigned to these units began training 
under the regular program. After two weeks 
under observation they were referred to a re- 
classification board for reassignment. At 
Belvoir these men usually had five weeks of 

special work while those at Wood had as 
much as eight weeks. At either center they 
could return to the normal program at any 
time upon the recommendation of the in- 
structors. The desired level of attainment 
was the equivalent of the first two weeks of 
normal training and a fourth grade educa- 
tion. 41 The special training units salvaged 

40 (1) Mob Regulations 1-7, 1 Oct 40. (2) Ltr, 
TAG to CofEngrs, 28 Jul 41, sub: Special Tng 
Units. 320.2, Pt. 29. 

a (1) 1st lnd, 23 Sep 41, on Ltr, Asst Adj Third 
Corps Area to CG ERTC Belvoir, 18 Sep 41, sub: 
Special Tng Units. Belvoir, 320.2, Orgn of the 
Army, Gen 1940-42, Sec. I. (2) 2d Wrapper lnd, 
ExO ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 24 Jan 42, on Ltr, 
AGO to CofEngrs, 15 Jan 42, sub: Special Tng 
Units. 353, Pt. 17. (3) Ltr, Adj ERTC Wood to 
CofEngrs, 14 Oct 41, sub: Additional RTC Ca- 
pacity. 320.2, RTCs, Pt. 1. (4) Ltr, CG ERTC 
Wood to CG Seventh Corps Area, 15 Sep 41, sub: 
Special Tng Unit. 320.2, Pt. 30. (5) Memo, ExO 
ERTC Wood for File, 20 Sep 41, sub: OCS and 
Special Tng Co, Bakers and Cooks Sch. Wood, 
353, Tng, Misc. (6) Ltr, CG ERTC Wood to OCE, 
27 Jan 42, sub: Special Tng Units. 353, Pt. 17. 



many men but placed a double strain upon 
the facilities of the centers. The normal 
trainee capacity had to be reduced for these 
battalion-size units, over 600 men at Belvoir 
and between 500 and 600 at Wood. Many 
of the men remained for the combined 
length of both the special and regular pro- 
grams, 1 3 weeks at Belvoir and 1 6 weeks at 

By March 1942 this group constituted the 
greater part of several categories of men 
who were housed and trained for varying 
lengths of time by direction of the War De- 
partment. Their presence created cramped 
living conditions for everyone, including 
those undergoing the normal program. In 
addition, each center held over and gave 
special preparation to a group that varied 
from 100 to 200 men in an attempt to pool 
those best qualified to fill future OCS quotas. 
Moreover, one whole company setup of four 
barracks and a mess hall had to be main- 
tained at each center for cadre retained for 
the activation of new units. Smaller groups 
of enlisted holdovers included cadre for 
RTC expansion and losses, and personnel 
for task force units. 42 

The eight -week course, in effect from De- 
cember 1941 to March 1942, caused faster 
depreciation of sites, aids, and facilities. 
At Wood, the already overworked staff could 
not keep the facilities repaired fast enough 
and instruction at individual training sites 
was intermittently curtailed. Requisitions 
for new units "ruthlessly depleted" the train- 
ing staff. But most serious of all, despite the 
shortened schedule and despite the larger 
capacities made possible through using 
tents and crowding the barracks, the great 
number of holdovers prevented any real in- 
crease in the total output of regular trainees. 
A comparison of the last three months of 

1941 under the twelve-week program and 
the three months of 1942 under the reduced 
schedule shows an initial jump in output 
in the first few weeks under the new sched- 
ule but the numbers trained averaged about 
the same, 17,295 and 17,598, respectively, 
for the two three-month periods. 43 

Although the eight-week program was 
unsatisfactory, it was also temporary. On 
28 February 1942 the General Staff di- 
rected a gradual reversion to the twelve- 
week cycle beginning 15 March. Reversion 
to the twelve-week cycle automatically re- 
stored the time needed for training in such 
basic Engineer subjects as demolitions, 
bridging, road construction, and obstacles. 

Table 6, Columns 1 and 2) This type of 

training was desperately needed, for the 
assumption that the creation of the engi- 
neer soldier could be safely left to his unit 
had soon proved false. With the rapid move- 
ment of troops overseas in the spring of 
1942 it became clear that in many cases 
the training received by these fillers in re- 
placement centers was all they would get 
before reaching a theater. Moreover, the 
product of the centers would in the future 

a (1) Ltr, AGO to CofEngrs, 31 Mar 42, sub: 
Additional Constr at RTCs, with Incl, 24 Mar 42, 
and 1st Ind, OCE to C of Rqmts Div SOS, 27 Apr 
42, and 2d Wrapper Ind, Hq ERTC Belvoir to 
CofEngrs, 10 Apr 42. 600.1, RTCs, Pt. 1. (2) 
Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 12 Jan 42, 
sub: Increased Tng Capacity Using Tent Camp. 
Belvoir, 680.1, RCs, 1940-42. (3) 1st Ind, 20 
Jan 42, on Memo, AC of O&T Br for CG ERTC 
Belvoir, 16 Jan 42, sub: Expansion of ERTC, 
Ft. Belvoir. 320.2, ERTC Belvoir, Pt. 1. (4) 1st 
Ind, 22 Jan 42, on Ltr, ACofEngrs to TAG, 8 Jan 
42, sub: Increase in ERTC, Ft. Belvoir. Same 
file. (5) Rad, OCE to CG ERTC Wood, 19 Jan 
42. 320.2, ASFTC Wood. (6) Ltr, Adj ERTC 
Wood to CofEngrs, 12 Feb 42, sub: Increase of 
Cadre. Same file. 

13 Ltr, CG ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 20 Jan 42, 
sub: Shortages and Allots of Enl Pers. 220.3, ERTC 


Table 6 — Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1942-43 

12 Weeks 

1 2 Weeks 

12 Weeks 

12 Weeks 

17 Weeks 


11 May 1942 

11 May 1942 

7 Sep 1942 

4 May 1943 

1 August 1943 

Wood Actual 

B.lvoir Actual 

Wood Actual 



— ■ 

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Orientation — _ „ ^ — — 

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Articles of war and Army regulations 

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C 9 C 

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5. 25 

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28. 00 

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24. UU 

94 nn 

24. uu 

19 nn 
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Rifle marksmanship., _ 

CO Pfl 

58. 50 

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34. UU 

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12. 00 

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Bayonet _ „ 

*7 r <-» 

7. 50 

£ nn 
o. UU 

q nn 
o. UU 

£ nn 
o, uu 

a nn 
(>. uu 


1. 75 

9 nn 
Z. UU 

a nn 
4. UU 

i nn 
j » uu 

a nn 
o. uu 


20. 00 

1 1 nn 
12. UU 

9A AA 

2U. UU 

1 9 nn 
12, uu 

1 9 nn 
1 2. uu 

Antiaircraft firing _ 

8. 00 

6. 00 






Scouting and patrolling _. 

7. 00 

Combat principles, including defense vs. 


air and mechanized attack,. 

32. 50 

1 1 nn 

S3. UU 


2o. UU 

1 AA 

Jo. UU 

Night operations, tactical _ _ 

4. 50 

4. UU 


( ; 

Engineer reconnaissance. . _ 

8. 75 

16. 00 

11. 00 

^> ? nn 
23. UU 

1 o nn 
19. UU 

Tools and equipment. _ 

14. 00 

18. 00 

1 nn 

12. UO 

i 1 nn 
1 1. UU 

i £ nn 
lo. UU 

Rigging _ _„_ 


16, 00 

1 7 nn 
17. 00 

i 7 nn 
1 /. UU 

1 7 nn 
1 /. UU 

Fixed bridges. 

28. 00 



f n nn 
j J2. UO 

1 1 nn 
51. UU 

a o nn 
4s. UU 

Night operations, bridges _ 

4. 50 


1 nn 
L 4. UU 


Floating bridges _ ^„^_ 

36. 00 

a(\ nn 
4U. UU 

1£ nn 
jo. UU 

in nn 

tcU. UU 

J*. uu 


21. 00 


J lo. UU 

i c nn 

1 J. uu 

9i nn 

^t. uu 

4. 5U 



t 4. 00 



General construction. _ _ _ ^ 






Field fortifications and camouflage 












Demolitions „ _ 






Training tests. _ _____ 






Reserved for battalion commander 






Carbine and ,45-cal. submachine gun. __ 






.37 mm. gun 






Village fighting. 






Map reading _ 






Tactical and engineer field operations 







Table 6 — Engineer Replacement Training Center Programed Hours: 1942-43 — Con, 


12 Weeks 
11 May 1942 
Wood Actual 

12 Weeks 
11 May 1942 

Belvoir Actual 

12 Weeks 
7 Sep 1942 
Wood Actual 

12 Weeks 
4 May 1943 

17 Weeks 
1 August 1943 

Booby traps and antipersonnel mines 






Laving and passage of mine fields 






Familiarization firing, individual weapons. 






Hand to hand combat 






Infiltration course 






i Includes antiaircraft firing. 

& Five night operations of four hours or more each scheduled outside of the listed hours of the program. 
e Fifty-sis hours of night operations outside of regular listed hours. 

Source: (1) Office Memo, Plans and Tng Off ERTC Wood for CG ERTC Wood, 11 May 42, sub : Comparison of Ft. Belvoir ERTC 
Tng Program with Ft. Leonard Wuod ERTC Tng Program. Wood, 353, Tng, Misc. (2) 1st Ind, 7 Sep 42, with Incl, Twelve Wks 
Tng Program, on Ltr, C of O&T Br to CG ERTC Wood, 29 Aug 42, sub; Tng Program. Wood, 353.01, Tng Scheds. (3) MTP 5-2, 4 
May 43. (4) MTP 5-6, 1 Aug 43. 

have to qualify as battle loss replacements 
in existing units. 44 

The institution of the twelve-week pro- 
gram, which made possible an increase in 
both basic and technical training, coincided 
with the formation of SOS. The Training 
Division, SOS, henceforth acted as a cen- 
tral co-ordinating agency, establishing poli- 
cies, standardizing programs, and determin- 
ing course content and length. Through nu- 
merous reports and frequent inspections 
SOS maintained close supervision over all 
aspects of training. The constant objective 
was uniformity, the production of men at a 
predictable level of proficiency. But al- 
though the policies set forth by SOS in- 
fluenced technical training at Engineer cen- 
ters, SOS was most successful in stand- 
ardizing the basic military training common 
to all the services under its control. 45 

From May until August 1942, SOS in- 
fluenced this training through changes in 
subject matter or by shifting stress from one 
aspect of a subject to another. It directed 
emphasis upon the use of cover and conceal- 
ment by the individual rather than by units. 
It restricted instruction in identification of 

aircraft and combat vehicles to those of the 
United States. The assumption in both cases 
was that this limited training would simplify 
subsequent unit instruction, which would 
amplify this basic information according to 
the needs of the theater in which the unit 
would operate. 413 Closer control of this part 
of replacement training came in August 
when SOS issued a basic military program 
to be used by all SOS centers during the 
first four weeks. Out of the total of 192 
hours available in the four weeks, 163 were 
prescribed by SOS, the remaining number 
being left open for either additional hours 
in these subjects or for the presentation of 
introductory Engineer material. Around 

41 Memo, AC of O&T Br, 24 Jan 42, sub: Pro- 
gram of Tng at ERTCs. 320.2, ERTCs, Pt. 1. 

45 Speech, Dir Tng SOS at Gonf of Comdrs of 
SvCs [31 Jul 42], sub: Tng Responsibilities in SOS. 
337, Pt. 1. 

1C ( 1 ) Memo, Dir Tng SOS for CofEngrs et al, 
31 Jul 42, Use of Time Designated To Train Indi- 
viduals in Airplane Recognition and Concealment 
and Concealment Discipline. 353, Pt. 18. (2) 
Memo, CG ERTC Wood for Adj ERTC Wood, 
6 Mar 43, sub: Tng Notes, with Incl, Conf Notes 
on RTCs and Basic Mil Tng, prepared by Dir Tng 
SOS on conf held 8-10 Feb 43. Wood, 353, Tng. 


SOLDIERS FIRING THE SPRINGFIELD Ml 903 at the Engineer Replacement 
Center, Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., April 1942. 

this hard core of prescribed hours the 
Engineers rescheduled the five weeks of 
basic training that preceded the seven weeks 
of tactical and technical work. By Septem- 
ber the two centers had worked out their 
individual versions. Little additional instruc- 
tion beyond that specified by SOS could be 
given during this first four weeks because 
a few hours had to be reserved each week as 
open time to compensate for interruptions. 
During the fifth week, instruction shifted 
completely to Engineer subjects. 47 

Rifle firing remained by far the most im- 
portant subject in the basic military pro- 
gram, and SOS constantly urged the im- 
provement of instruction in this field. As 
early as July 1942 the Director of Training, 
SOS, had expressed dissatisfaction with the 
standards for record firing and had set up a 
single standard for all centers. Every trainee 

was to fire for record before leaving the 
ERTC or, if he did not, the failure to do so 
was to be minutely explained. Of those fir- 
ing, 80 percent were to qualify. A monthly 
report had to be submitted as a check upon 
performance. The training program pre- 
scribed in August went further in desig- 
nating the type of ranges to be used and 
specified that rifle firing for record should be 
completed within the first four weeks. The 
Wood center had only one very small 300- 
yard firing point, and Belvoir only one suit- 
able range of 88 targets. Instruction was 
further hampered by the relatively low 

"( 1 ) Ltr, Brig Gen C. R. Huebner, Dir Tng SOS, 
to All Concerned, 28 Aug 42, sub : Basic Tng Pro- 
gram. Hq EAC, 353, Tng. (2) Hq SOS, Basic Tng 
Program for All RTGs and Sv Units of Sup and 
Adm Svs SOS, Aug 42, Ft. Lewis, 353, Tng, 6 
Sep 42 — . 



priority given to the training centers for 
ordnance equipment. The Garand Ml rifle 
did not reach the two centers until Decem- 
ber 1942. Meanwhile the older Springfield 
could not be obtained in sufficient quanti- 
ties for each trainee to have his own weapon. 
No carbines were available at either center 
until August 1942, when the Engineers 
finally resorted to a special issue of four 
to each center for demonstration purposes. 
In the face of such weapon shortages and 
the lack of suitable ranges, the ERTC's 
obtained permission in September 1942 to 
spread rifle instruction throughout the five 
weeks of basic training instead of confining 
it to the first four weeks. 48 

The centers had extreme difficulty meet- 
ing the 80 percent standard. Neither ap- 
proached the mark for months, as shown 
by the following table on record firing at 
ERTC's from July through December 
1942. 4 ' 

Belvoir Wood 

Month White Negro White Negro 

July 64 39 {«) (") 

August 75 25 (°) (<■) 

September 66 60 58 17 

October 78 37 («) (<■) 

November 79 (°) 57 (°) 

December 81 78 73 15 

" Record not available. 

December was the only month in 1942 in 
which Negro troops at Belvoir reached an 
adequate score. Investigation proved the 
firing score to be the result of false marking 
and scoring of targets, and the whole firing 
procedure had to be reorganized. The scores 
thereafter dropped to the previous levels. 
As a result of reprimands for poor marks- 
manship, Wood revised its rifle training in 
December, giving special attention to Negro 
troops and to slow learners. A team of forty- 
eight white expert coaches devoted all its 

time to the Negro battalions, starting early 
in January 1943. 50 

In teaching marksmanship, military 
courtesy, drill, and other aspects of basic 
military training the ERTC's aimed at 
sending out a product interchangeable with 
that of other SOS centers, but the ultimate 
goal of Belvoir and Wood was to produce 
a technically trained engineer soldier. Seven 
weeks out of the twelve were devoted to 
technical training in combination with tac- 
tical instruction. The trainee learned the 
essentials of engineer reconnaissance — to 
note such important things as possible 
bridge sites, the width and flow of streams, 
the condition and contour of terrain for 
road building, and strategic locations for 
tank obstacles and mine fields. He learned 
to co-ordinate his efforts with groups of 
increasing size in tactical exercises, first 
squads, then platoons, and finally com- 
panies. Weapons instruction also shifted to 
group activity. Rifle instruction continued 
with emphasis upon the techniques of con- 

48 ( 1 ) Memo, AC of O&T Br, 4 Sep 42, Inspec of 
Trig, 1-3 Sep 42. 353, ASFTC Claiborne, Pt. 1. 
(2) Memo, Supervisor Weapons Trig ERTC Wood 
for Plans and Tng Off ERTC Wood, 14 Apr 42. 
Wood, 333.1, Inspec. (3) Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir 
to CofEngrs, 8 Sep 42, sub: Authority To Fire 
Qualification Course "C," Rifle Model 1903, with 
1st Ind, CG Ft. Belvoir to CofEngrs, 11 Sep 42. 
Belvoir, 353.15, Marksmanship, 1942. (4) Memo, 
Grant for Wolfe, 16 May 42, sub: Subjects To Be 
Taken Up in OCE, with Notes on Gen Grant's 
Memo for Col Wolfe. 322, ASFTC Wood. (5) Ltr, 
ExO Belvoir to CofEngrs, 10 Aug 42, sub: Carbine, 
.30-Cal. Ml. 475, ASFTC Belvoir. (6) Ltr, AC of 
O&T Br to CG SOS, 22 Aug 42, same sub. Same 
file. (7) Ltr, C of O&T Br to Dir Tng SOS, 10 
Sep 42, sub: Rifle Marksmanship, ERTCs, with 1st 
Ind, 15 Sep 42. Wood, 353.15, Marksmanship. 

"(1) 353.15, ERTC Belvoir. (2) 353.15, 
ASFTC Wood. (3) Wood, 353.15, Marksmanship. 

ro Memo, Dir Tng SOS for CofEngrs, 16 Jan 43, 
sub: Small Arms Record Firing, with 2d Wrapper 
Ind, CG ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 23 Jan 43. 
353.15, Ft. Wood. 



centrating the fire power of small units. 
With the return to the twelve-week pro- 
gram, 20 percent of the trainees were sup- 
posed to learn to fire the .50-caliber machine 
gun and the 37-mm. antitank gun, but so 
few of these weapons could be obtained that 
for all practical purposes the .30-caliber ma- 
chine gun remained the principal crew- 
served weapon. In technical Engineer sub- 
jects the trainee learned to work with other 
men in building floating and fixed bridges 
and various types of roads and obstacles. 51 
Finding training films inadequate for 
familiarization in technical Engineer sub- 
jects, the centers prepared elaborate sets of 
more tangible training aids. Sand tables du- 
plicating in miniature the territory through 
which the men would move simplified tac- 
tical problems involving engineer opera- 
tions. Short sections of temporary and 
permanent surfacing gave the trainee a gen- 
eral picture of road building for a variety 
of weather and terrain. Scale models of 
fixed and floating bridges, with structural 
parts painted in bright colors for positive 
identification, were an important part of 
the first lessons in this subject and saved 
hours in construction time at the bridge 
sites. In demolitions, classroom instruction 
included the use of models of common high- 
way and railroad bridges to demonstrate 
strategic points to place explosives for maxi- 
mum destruction. At the training site, large 
signs and billboards repeated the best meth- 
ods of demolishing railroad tracks, concrete 
beams, and steel truss bridges. Classes in 
general construction used a series of models 
of temporary wooden buildings in succes- 
sive stages of construction to show building 
procedures. At the building sites large dis- 
play boards held short identified sections of 
the most common sizes of lumber, types of 
joints, and the nails, hinges, and other hard- 

ware which went into such construction. 
Numerous "knot boards" demonstrating 
types of knots, splices, and lashings were 
distributed to the barracks to keep the men 
conscious of the fundamentals of rigging 
during off-hours. OCE encouraged an in- 
terchange of ideas between the two centers 
and authorized visits by members of the 
two ERTC training staffs to witness new 
methods and aids in operation. 52 

Although training aids served to shorten 
the introductory phase of each subject, prac- 
tical working exercises were the essence of 
engineer training. The men learned by do- 
ing. At Belvoir, six companies could train at 
the same time in the floating bridge area, 
a dredged channel 2,000 feet long and from 
130 to 250 feet wide. The fixed bridge area 
across Accotink Creek provided space for 4 
steel bridges, 1 6 wooden trestle bridges, and 
48 footbridges simultaneously. In a typical 
week of training in the late summer of 1942, 
the trainees built some 1 80 bridges in these 
areas. A program on the same scale was 
carried out at the Wood center. But in spite 
of the excellent bridging facilities at both 
ERTC's, the men had no training during 
1942 in the erection of the Bailey bridge. 
American units in England received some 
training on the Bailey in late 1942, but it 
was not until February 1943, when the 
Corps of Engineers finally adopted the 
Bailey, that any of these bridges were desig- 
nated for training in the United States. 

51 (1) Ltr, Adj Wood to CofEngrs, 22 Aug 42, 
sub: Tng Equip. 472, ASFTC Wood. (2) Ltr, Adj 
ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 24 Jul 43, sub: Request 
for Guns, Machine, ,50-Cal., with 2d Ind, AC of 
Equip Br Trps Div to CG ASF, 6 Aug 43. 472.5, 
ASFTC Wood. 

62 (1) FM 21-7, List of Tng Films, Film Strips, 
and Film Bulls, 1 Jan 43. (2) Rpt, Tng of Repls, 
Fillers, and Cadres, CE, Ft. Belvoir, 6 Mar 41-30 
Jun 44, pp. 11, 12. Engr Sch Library. 



By the end of March, only 4 had been is- 
sued for troop use and in the next month 
only 24. Few men beginning training at the 
time these bridges were released could have 
appeared in combat zones before the latter 
part of 1943. 53 

Since it was not assumed that the en- 
gineer soldier could perform any task until 
he had done it, each man learned to make 
up both electric and nonelectric priming 
charges during demolitions training, and 
fired high explosives to break reinforced 
concrete pillars and steel beams. Bangalore 
torpedoes (metal pipes packed with a high 
explosive ) were used to breach actual road- 
blocks and antitank obstacles as well as to 
make a path through simulated mine fields. 
The trainee not only learned the propor- 
tions of various explosives necessary for most 
engineering purposes but gained confidence 
in his ability to use them effectively. 54 

The centers divided the twenty hours of 
instruction in road building into four parts. 
In the first four-hour period the men as- 
sembled at the road building site with shov- 
els, picks, saws, crowbars, axes, mauls, 
sledges, and machetes. Supervisors from the 
staff brought bulldozers and road graders, 
rakes, tampers, wheelbarrows, cement, sand, 
gravel, and landing mat. Following demon- 
strations with the earth-moving machinery, 
there was a short lecture on the major char- 
acteristics of good road building. The men 
then broke up into small working parties. 
Some spread gravel, others dug ditches, 
while still others laid concrete culvert pipes. 
Then they all moved to the adjacent land- 
ing field site where they received instruc- 
tion in clearing, grubbing, and draining a 
field, and laid a small section of mat. At 
still another site they built wooden forms, 
mixed and poured concrete, and set it to 
cure with wet burlap. In the second period, 

again four hours, they learned expedient 
road building under swamp conditions, 
building short sections of corduroy, plank, 
plank-tread, log mat, wire mesh, and land- 
ing mat roads. The third period of eight 
hours was for road repair and maintenance, 
limited to emergency repairs including 
drainage, placing of culverts, removal of ob- 
stacles, and the detouring of traffic. The last 
four-hour period was a night operation in 
which each platoon had a definite task. It 
might be given a stretch of swamp road to 
build, or a road or trail to repair involving 
filling or bridging a crater. Each project 
was tested by having a truck drive over the 
completed work. 56 

In examinations as well as in instruction, 
emphasis was upon demonstration. Both 
centers agreed that the major part of the 
testing should require active proof of ac- 
quired skills rather than mere answers to 
questions. The ERTC's did diverge widely 
in their views upon the frequency of these 
tests and their content, however. The Wood 
center developed a system of frequent test- 
ing of small amounts of subject matter at 
a time while Belvoir held constant reviews 
toward a final examination. Each system 
had its advantages. There was little basis 
for comparison of the product of the two 
centers as long as the methods of deter- 
mining proficiency varied so widely. The 

53 ( 1 ) Engr Bd Rpt 729, 5 Dec 42, Panel Bridge 
(Bailey Type), H- 10 and H-20 Bridge. (2) 1st Ind, 
4 Feb 43, on Memo, ACofS Materiel ASF for 
CofEngrs, 16 Jan 43, sub: Co-ordination of Ve- 
hicles Design With Capacities of Mil Bridges. 1st 
Ind in 417, Pt. 13; basic in 451, Pt. 1. (3) ASF 
Monthly Progress Rpt, Sec. 2-A, Distribution, 30 
Apr 43 (C). 

51 1st Ind, 9 Dec 42, on Ltr, C of O&T Br to CO 
ERTC Wood, 5 Dec 42, sub : Tng Tests. Wood, 353, 
Tng, Gen. 

65 Lesson Outlines, ERTC Ft. Belvoir, Nov 42, 
pp. 479-96. EHD files. 



Wood center, in the latter part of July 1943, 
made the two systems uniform by adding a 
final examination patterned directly after 
that in use at Belvoir. 56 

During 1942 the ERTC's produced 79,- 
571 engineer soldiers, 70 percent of whom 
entered directly into SOS units. Although 
by March the training program had been 
lengthened from eight to twelve weeks, the 
period from January to the autumn of 1942 
was marked by great haste in training and 
by temporary measures designed to produce 
quantities of men to fill new units. There 
was little specialized training. The centers 
concentrated on teaching these men basic 
military skills and giving them a funda- 
mental grasp of engineer tasks and tech- 
niques so that they might with additional 
unit training fill any engineer position. Simi- 
lar emergency measures dominated the of- 
ficer training program. Reluctantly, the 
Engineers had to presume that experience in 
the field would accomplish what the training 
program could not. Throughout 1942 the 
military construction program demanded 
the services of many of the Corps' most 

experienced officers and a large portion of 
its Reserve. It was not, however, the 
transfer of the construction program to the 
Corps which created this situation. The first 
inroads upon Engineer Regulars and Re- 
serves had been made while the program 
was under the control of The Quartermaster 
General. The intraservice struggle over 
troop-age officers in the spring of 1942 was 
but a continuation of an interbranch feud. 
Certainly troop activities suffered no more 
from officer shortages after the transfer than 
they had previously. Amid the rush to supply 
officers and men to the new units the Engi- 
neers continued to devote a large measure 
of attention to perfecting unit organization, 
first applying the lessons learned during the 
defense period and then beginning an ad- 
justment to the growing demand for service 
troops which was to prove one of the most 
characteristic aspects of global warfare. 

M ( 1 ) Ltr, Tng Div ERTC Wood to Tng Div 
ERTC Belvoir, 19 Jul 43. Belvoir, 353, Tng, 1943. 
(2) Ltr, Tng Div ERTC Belvoir to Tng Div ERTC 
Wood, 24 Jul 43. Same file. 


Mounting Pressure for Supplies 

The fact that the emergency training 
program fed more than 240,000 Engineer 
officers and enlisted men into the Army in 
1942 was cause enough for a substantial in- 
crease in requirements for engineer supplies. 
But requirements for organizational equip- 
ment, large as they were, accounted for but 
part of the soaring demand for engineer 
materiel in the months following the decla- 
ration of war. The urgent need for con- 
struction of overseas bases which had oc- 
casioned the rapid growth of engineer units 
themselves called forth an equally urgent 
requirement for machinery and materials 
over and above the organizational allow- 
ance to troops. Ultimately these Class IV 
supplies accounted for well over half the 
value of the Engineer procurement program. 

Requisitions for Class IV supplies poured 
in during 1942 from Iceland, from the Brit- 
ish Isles, from Alaska, from Australia, and 
from other far-flung areas where engineer 
troops had been sent to build — areas vary- 
ing in climate, terrain, and degree of civil- 
ization. During the defense period the pur- 
chase of engineer equipment had been tied 
to the units then scheduled to be activated, 
to the task forces then deployed, and to the 
needs of Great Britain and other allies. 
What had been ordered had been issued as 
fast as produced. Pearl Harbor found the 
Corps with nothing in the way of a stock- 
pile. For many months needs would be met 
from current production. Despite these mea- 
ger resources it was reasonable to expect the 

Corps to continue to share with those na- 
tions that were engaging the enemy in a 
desperate holding action. So great was the 
demand for engineer materiel created by 
the growth of engineer units, by construction 
projects the world over, and by interna- 
tional aid that expenditures in 1942, al- 
though more than three times as large as 
those made during 1941, did not satisfy 

The immense responsibilities which de- 
volved upon OCE's military supply organi- 
zation after Pearl Harbor amply justified 
the administrative change that on 1 Decem- 
ber 1941 had raised the supply function to 
a co-ordinate level with operations and 
training. The Supply Division expanded 
rapidly from a staff of 2 10 in the summer of 
1941 to 1,000 in the fall of 1942. This ex- 
pansion was all the more notable since de- 
pot activities were increasing and field offices 
were absorbing more responsibilities for 

It was fortunate that the Supply Division 
retained through the critical year 1942 
many officers and civilians who had grown 
up with the organization — Colonel Chorp- 
ening as executive officer of the division, as- 
sisted by Charles G. Perkins; Col, Miles M. 
Dawson as chief of the Requirements, Stor- 
age and Issue Branch, assisted by Arthur E. 
Krum; Col. John S. Seybold as chief of the 
Procurement Branch, with Morris S. Den- 
man as chief of the Purchasing Section; Lt. 
Col. Theodore T. Molnar as chief of the 



International Section; and Lt. Col. C. Rod- 
ney Smith as chief of the Maintenance Sec- 
tion. Their experience served them in good 
stead in guiding a program that was not 
only larger but infinitely more complex than 
the one carried on before Pearl Harbor. 1 

On a War Footing 

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack 
the Corps of Engineers had before Con- 
gress a request for $15,000,000 for construc- 
tion materials and equipment for task forces 
totaling 130,000 men. After war broke out 
this sum was hastily multiplied by eight 
to provide for a force of 1 ,000,000. In justi- 
fication of the $120,000,000 requested, the 
Supply Division submitted a thirty-page 
list of items, largely of the type required for 
defensive action in the Pacific — sandbags, 
barbed wire, piling, and some construction 
machinery. On 24 December 1941, a week 
after this $120,000,000 had been appropri- 
ated, G— 4 directed the Engineers to compile 
estimates for the next appropriation bill. 
This time the Engineers put in for $522,288,- 
929, a sum they estimated would provide 
initial issue and three months replacement 
of Class IV supplies for camouflage, demoli- 
tions, field fortifications, bridging, water 
supply, and airfield, railroad, and port and 
dock construction for a force of 1,000,000 
men — 10 percent for a frigid and 90 percent 
for a temperate climate. By the end of the 
fiscal year Congress had appropriated more 
than $1,353,000,000 for procurement and 
replacement of engineer materiel. Early in 
July when the appropriation for fiscal year 
1943 was approved, the Engineers received 
over $582,000,000. Supplemental appro- 
priations passed in the six months following 
Pearl Harbor added $847,000,000 to the 
Engineer procurement fund for interna- 

tional aid purposes, mostly for Great 
Britain. 2 

Immediately after the Japanese attack 
the Office of the Under Secretary of War 
had spelled out various ways to speed up 
procurement of supplies. Production must 
be put on a 24-hour a day, 7-day week basis. 
Supply services were authorized to negotiate 
supplemental agreements to reimburse con- 
tractors for extra costs due to overtime and 
shift work, to obligate funds by letters of 
intent, to use letter purchase orders in place 
of letter contracts in the absence of detailed 
specifications, and to make advance pay- 
ments on both letter contracts and letter 
purchase orders. Contracting officers were 
permitted to issue mandatory orders if man- 
ufacturers did not proceed promptly with 
production. The authority of chiefs of serv- 
ices to approve contracts jumped from 
$500,000 to $5,000,000. Early in March 
advertising for bids was prohibited. Hence- 
forth all contracts were to be negotiated, al- 
though informal bids could be taken if there 
were sufficient time. Through the Renegoti- 
ation Act of April 1942 the services were 
freed of the obligation to fix a final price at 
the time the contract was signed. Bills would 
be settled later when more was known about 

1 (1) Orgn Charts, 1 Dec 41, 2 May 42. EHD 
files. (2) Rqmts Br Diary, 26 May 42. 

2 ( 1 ) Fiscal Liaison Office files, 2d Supplemen- 
tary Estimate FY 1942, Supplementary Estimate 
"D" FY 1942, and Supplementary Estimate "E" 
FY 1942. (2) Ltr, ExO Sup Div to ANMB, 17 
Dec 41, sub: Asgmt of Priority Ratings. 400.1301. 
(3) Memo, AC O&T for C of Sup Div, 17 Dec 41, 
sub: Rev of Engr Rqmts List. 400.34. (4) Memo, C 
of Sup Div for C of Legislative and Plan Br WDGS, 
5 Feb 42, sub: Other Rqmts as Listed in Supple- 
mentary Estimate "D" FY 1942. Rqmts Br file, 
Gen Staff G-4. (5) Incl, Justification of Rev Esti- 
mate FY 1943, with Memo, AC Rqmts Br for C 
of Sup Div, 10 July 42, sub: Changes in Consoli- 
dated Rev Estimate FY 1943. Intnl Div file, 111 



over-all costs and profits. Finally, the Under 
Secretary's Office urged that the administra- 
tion of the procurement program — the 
award of contracts and their follow- 
through — should be decentralized to the 
field to the maximum extent consistent with 
efficiency and the safeguarding of the pub- 
lic interest. 3 

During the defense period the Corps of 
Engineers had centered procurement in 
Washington. To be sure the civil works dis- 
tricts had inspected the products of manu- 
facturers and the procurement districts had 
investigated potential suppliers, assisted 
with inspection, and on occasion engaged 
in that mysterious activity known as expedit- 
ing. But all contracts had been let by the 
Procurement Branch in OCE. Anticipating 
a larger volume of purchasing in 1942 and 
faced with a shortage of applicants for jobs 
in Washington, the Supply Section had in 
September 1941 readied the procurement 
districts for activation in accordance with 
mobilization plans. 4 

As conceived in the plans drawn up in 
the twenties and thirties the six procurement 
districts — New York, Philadelphia, Pitts- 
burgh, Mobile, Chicago, and San Fran- 
cisco — were to be entirely separate from the 
civil works districts of the Engineer Depart- 
ment. The realities of 1942 did not jibe with 
these plans. Upon activation of the procure- 
ment districts in November 1941, only one 
Reserve officer with purchasing experience 
sufficient to take charge of a procurement 
district could be found. Plans were promptly 
modified and District Engineers assumed 
direction of procurement districts. This link- 
ing of military procurement to the Engineer 
Department came at the same time that the 
civil works districts were absorbing the vast 
responsibilities connected with the super- 
vision of the military construction program. 

Thus several weeks elapsed before the pro- 
curement districts could award any con- 
tracts at all. After the field had surmounted 
the initial administrative adjustments, the 
Procurement Branch began to forward to 
the procurement districts requisitions to pur- 
chase the thousands of low-priced, common 
garden variety of supplies for which the 
Engineers had procurement responsibility 
and for which there were a multitude of 
suppliers all over the country. The Procure- 
ment Branch continued to handle the big 
contracts for the more costly and special 
types of equipment and materials for which 
suppliers were few and demand was heavy. 
Under this division of work the procure- 
ment districts were soon awarding many 
more contracts than OCE, but OCE still 
obligated approximately 90 percent of the 

In the summer of 1942 SOS began to 
press all the services for a maximum de- 
centralization of procurement activities. 
Congressional representatives and business- 
men, particularly small businessmen, viewed 
decentralization as a way to achieve a 
greater distribution of orders. Washington 
was already overcrowded and far from the 
sources of production. To decentralize 
seemed efficient and economical. In resist- 
ing this pressure the Engineers could argue 
that so far as small business was concerned 
the procurement districts were already 
handling the contracts that would normally 

3 ( 1 ) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobili- 
zation, Ch. VII, pp. 57-77, 94, 104-07; Gh. XII, 
pp. 6-10. (2) Memo, USW for Cs of Sup Arms 
and Svs, 8 Dec 41. USW file, 004.401, Production. 
(3) Memo, USW for CofEngrs et al., 17 Dec 41, 
sub; Decentralization of Proc. 400.12, Pt. 109. 

4 Except as otherwise noted, the following dis- 
cussion of administration is based upon : ( 1 ) Rpt, 
Mgt Br, Orgn for Engr Proc, 7 Oct 47, EHD files; 
(2) Wkly Rpts Sup Div; and (3) ExO Proc Div 
file, Misc Corresp. 



flow to such concerns. Through the inspec- 
tors and expediters in the civil works dis- 
tricts the Corps was kept close to its sources 
of production. The Supply Division could 
also point to a number of reasons why it 
seemed desirable at least to postpone turn- 
ing over any more work to the field. For 
many items, specifications were incomplete. 
In numbers of cases the time limit for pur- 
chases was extremely short. With the field 
offices still deeply involved in the military 
construction program, supervision of per- 
sonnel in the procurement districts would 
probably be inadequate. Of greatest con- 
cern to the Supply Division, however, was 
the possibility that the transfer of all pro- 
curement action to the field would result 
in loss of control over the major items. The 
procurement districts were organized on a 
territorial basis. Purchase of searchlights, 
tractors, landing mat, and similar supplies 
should be made without regard to territorial 
divisions, on a centralized or commodity 

By the fall of 1942, some of these argu- 
ments were no longer valid. Of prime im- 
portance was the fact that the military 
construction program was on the wane, 
making available to the military procure- 
ment program numbers of persons experi- 
enced in the ways of conducting government 
business. In the face of continued pressure 
from SOS the Supply Division gradually 
transferred more and more responsibility to 
the field. By the end of September the sys- 
tem had been stabilized. Under the new 
setup commodity purchasing of certain key 
items was assured. The Chicago procure- 
ment district, located in the heart of the 
construction machinery industry, contracted 
for all tractors and cranes; New York, for 
searchlights; Philadelphia, for sandbags and 
camouflage nets; Pittsburgh, for barrage 

balloons. For the vast number of supplies 
not purchased on a commodity basis the 
Procurement Branch forwarded requisitions 
to procurement districts on the basis of 
known available facilities, the needs of 
small business and of distressed areas, and 
consideration as to the final destination of 
the product. On all items the Procurement 
Branch retained control over scheduling, 
priorities, and other matters which an econ- 
omy of scarcity imposed. The procurement 
districts, whether purchasing on a com- 
modity or on a decentralized basis, negoti- 
ated all contracts and followed them 
through to completion, calling on inspec- 
tors and expediters in other civil works dis- 
tricts and on materials and production 
experts in the Supply Division, OCE, for 
assistance as necessary. 

In letting and supervising contracts the 
Procurement Branch and the procurement 
districts availed themselves of most of the 
devices for accelerating the work that had 
been recommended by higher authority, but 
with a wary eye on the possibility of Con- 
gressional investigations, they exercised cau- 
tion. Thus they discouraged the use of 
letters of intent, but did at times resort to 
them. They did not have to carry through 
on any compulsory orders but did threaten 
to employ them in order to get contractors to 
accept terms considered reasonable. Al- 

* (1) Prod Liaison Subsec, Proc Opns, CE, 1943. 
EHD files. (2) Memo, CofEngrs for Dir Purch 
Div SOS, 29 Jan 43, sub: Special Proc of Trp Sup 
by CE, with Incl 2, n.d. 400.12 (C), Pt. 1. (3) 
Erna Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Organiza- 
tion, Supply, and Services, Volume I, UNITED 
ington, 1953), pp. 251-52. (4) Memo, G of Alloc 
and Contract Br Proc Sv for C of Co-ordinating 
Sec, 2 Jul 43, sub: Ann Rpt ASF, 1943. Basic 
Materials for Ann Rpt 1943 in EHD files. (5) Min, 
Staff Conf SOS, 16 Sep 42. 337, Staff Confs ASF 



though formal advertising was out, they en- 
couraged the taking of bids. But in other 
cases where costs could not be ascertained, 
they used short term experimental contracts 
subject to price revision instead of insisting 
on detailed estimates. The districts placed 
contracts at the best price obtainable, and 
then, if satisfied that the price was too high, 
referred the contract to OCE for redeter- 
mination. By the end of March 1942 the 
authority of the chiefs of the Procurement 
Branch and of the procurement districts to 
approve contracts had been increased from 
$2,000,000 to $3,000,000. The chief of the 
Supply Division could approve those above 
that amount up to the $5,000,000 limit re- 
served for approval by higher echelons. 6 

Valuable as were these measures for 
speeding up the contracting process and in- 
suring round-the-clock production, they fell 
far short of solving the basic problems of 
industrial mobilization for war. To a much 
greater extent than during the defense 
period the nation's economy had to be regu- 
lated; its facilities, its materials, its prod- 
ucts, controlled and allocated. On 16 Janu- 
ary 1942, the President created a new 
agency, the War Production Board ( WPB) , 
to handle this gigantic task, abolishing the 
Office of Production Management which 
had guided the partial mobilization of the 
previous year. The primary task which faced 
the WPB was the balancing of the nation's 
wartime requirements with the nation's re- 
sources. The WPB needed to know in as 
specific terms as possible and as far ahead 
as possible what all the claimants on the 
nation's production — civilian and mili- 
tary — required. The SOS attempted to pro- 
vide such information for the Army in the 
Army Supply Program (ASP). 

The major component of the ASP was a 
translation of the troop basis into the quan- 

tities of items required and the dates when 
given quantities had to be available. The 
quantities set down were the sum of ( 1 ) 
initial allowances, (2) allowances for the 
replacement of equipment worn-out, de- 
stroyed, or lost, and (3) allowances for 
supplies in transit or in storage. To the 
totals thus arrived at were added require- 
ments for international aid, for task forces, 
and for special operations insofar as these 
were known. The resulting compilation was 
subsequently checked with the production 
experts to determine need in terms of raw 
materials, facilities, and labor. Adjustments 
to insure "a practical, over-all program" 
followed. As published quarterly the ASP 
stated total required production for major 
items in terms of time objectives, giving pro- 
curement goals by calendar years and on- 
hand figures of the amounts in depots and 
assigned to troops as of the beginning of the 
year. The ASP had many uses. It served as 
the basis for allocations of materials and for 
the assignment of priorities. It was a pri- 
mary source for the preparation of budget 
estimates. It was a measure of progress, re- 
vealing slippages in the procurement pro- 
gram, and thus served as a starting point for 
action to correct such slippages. 

The ASP's accuracy and consequently its 
value as an instrument in planning de- 
pended on the reliability and coverage of 
the sources used in its compilation. During 
1942 many of the sources were unreliable, 

8 ( 1 ) Memo, Contracts and Claims Br Adm Div 
for Legal Br Purch Div ASF, 28 May 43, sub : Pro- 
posed Rev of WD Proc Regulation 3. 300.8, Proc 
Regulations. (2) Memo, Contracts and Claims Br 
Adm Div for Legal Br Purch Div ASF, 15 Jul 43, 
sub : Proposed Regulations in re Compulsory Or- 
ders. Same file. (3) C/L 1559, 4 May 42, sub: Ne- 
gotiation of Contracts and Purch. (4) Memo, 
ACofEngrs for Dir Purch Div SOS, 27 Nov 42, 
sub: Memo on Statement of Purch Policy. ExO 
Proc Div file, ASF. 



incomplete, and above all, subject to fre- 
quent change. The troop basis fluctuated 
violently. T/BA's, replacement factors, and 
distribution factors came in for considerable 
revision. Requirements for task forces and 
for special operations overseas, a category of 
supply in which the Corps of Engineers car- 
ried exceptionally heavy responsibilities, 
proved almost totally unpredictable. The 
bulk of these special requirements never ap- 
peared in the ASP at all. They were met 
during 1942, as they had been previously, 
on an emergency basis. 7 

This was particularly true during the 
early months of the year. The Supply Divi- 
sion made up approximately two thirds of 
an urgent requisition from Hawaii out of 
secondhand, obsolete machinery. The re- 
mainder was bought with funds appropri- 
ated for the engineer theater of operations 
stockpile. The engineer stockpile did not 
represent any reserve of equipment and ma- 
terials. Stockpile was -a figure of speech, a 
bookkeeping term, used to cover all Class 
IV supplies. 8 

Pooling Production 

Whether purchased as Class IV or as 
Class II supplies, or to meet the needs of 
allies, construction machinery was the most 
importa nt categor y of engineer require- 
ments. (Chart 3) In 1942 tractors and 

other construction machinery composed al- 
most 40 percent of the $651,000,000 worth 
of Engineer deliveries. The industry which 
manufactured these machines included 
about 200 firms. There were four manu- 
facturers of the type of tractor used for 
construction work: Allis-Chalmers Man- 
ufacturing Company, Caterpillar Tractor 
Company, Cleveland Tractor Company, 
and International Harvester Company. In 

1939 these four firms had produced ap- 
proximately 20,000 tractors, but many of 
these were low-powered machines for which 
military demand was small. The crane and 
shovel industry had produced an average of 
3,000 units annually in peacetime. During 
1942 Engineer procurement alone was to 
amount to approximately the $250,000,000 
annual business the construction machinery 
industry had averaged just prior to the war. 
The Corps of Engineers was naturally at 
pains to emphasize its interest in and claim 
upon the products of this industry. 8 Late 
in January, at a conference with Lt. Gen. 
William S. Knudsen, Director of Produc- 
tion in the Office of the Under Secretary 
of War, Reybold expressed his fear "that 
they may convert some of those large ma- 
chinery plants." This exchange then en- 
sued between Knudsen and Fowler, Assist- 
ant Chief of Engineers for Supply. 

Knudsen: "If you had to choose between 
tanks and shovels, I'm afraid shovels are 
going to get hurt." 

* ( 1 ) Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics, pp. 
296-97. (2) Adm Memo 38, Hq SOS, 16 Sep 42. 
(3) Maj Harry F. Kirkpatrick, Dev of Sup Plan for 
Engr Class IV Sup (typescript), 20 Dec 45. EHD 

8 ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Rqmts Br to CG Hawaiian Dept, 26 
Feb 42, sub: Recapture of Equip, with Incl. 400.31, 
Hawaiian Dept, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, C of Sup Div 
for ACofS G-4, 9 Mar 42, sub: Equip for Hawaiian 
Dept. Same file. (3) Memo, C of Rqmts Br for All 
Concerned, 24 Feb 42, sub: Methods of Operating 
TofOpns Stockpile. EHD files. 

9 ( 1 ) Richard H. Crawford and Lindsley F. Cook, 
"Procurement," a chapter in Statistics, a volume 
in preparation for the series, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, p. 16. (2) Sixteenth 
Census of the United States: 1940, Manufacturers, 
1939, Vol. II, Pt. 2 (Washington, 1942), 423. 
(3) "American Tractors," Automotive Industries, 
LXXXIV, (March 1, 1941), 236-37. (4) History 
of the Construction Machinery Division of the War 
Production Board and Predecessor Agencies, 1941- 
1945 (typescript) (hereafter cited as Hist of Constr 
Mach Div WPB). EHD files. 



$1,500 — 

$1,000 — 


Boot* ond 
| Bridges 







by Major Classes of 


= 57% = 


'A 1 %— 






=47% = 



Source: Crawford and Cook, op. cit, pp. 15-16. 



Fowler: "Your planes can't fly without air- 
fields and you have to have the heavy machin- 
ery to make airfields." 

Knudsen: "The best thing you can do is 
find a flat spot and use a scraper." 

Fowler: "You can't make those things by 
hand labor. You've got to have . . . me- 
chanical equipment." 

Knudsen: "Well, take the next [item]." 10 

The Engineers did lose some facilities to 
tank and to other munitions production dur- 
ing the early months of 1942. During this 
same period, however, the intrinsic relation- 
ship between construction machinery and 
the world-wide logistical effort was clearly 
demonstrated, and, although it was not un- 
til December that the WPB declared trac- 
tors a military item, the Engineers, with the 
help of WPB's Construction Machinery Di- 
vision, succeeded in preventing further di- 
version of facilities. 

Equally important were the actions taken 
by WPB to channel production to the mil- 
itary. In the first of a series of "limitation 
orders" issued on 19 February, the WPB 
prohibited the sale or delivery of new track- 
laying tractors to purchasers lacking a 
preference rating higher than A— 2. On 2 
May, WPB issued a similar prohibition to 
control the distribution of cranes and 
shovels. This assistance, plus the introduc- 
tion of multiple shifts, extensive subcon- 
tracting, and complete use of plant that had 
remained partially idle in peacetime, resulted 
in a substantial increase in the quantities of 
construction machinery available to the 
Corps. Nevertheless, demand soared com- 
pletely out of reach of manufacturing capa- 
bilities. Time was to prove that the construc- 
tion machinery industry required more 
plant. During 1942 the supply of raw ma- 
terials, particularly steel, was the determin- 
ing factor in the production, not only of 
construction machinery, but of nearly all 

other types of equipment procured by the 
Engineers, as indeed it was the determining 
factor in the nation's over-all productive 
effort. 11 

Since this fact was becoming more evi- 
dent each day, the Supply Division enter- 
tained little hope of success in getting more 
steel and saw little point in advocating an 
expansion of facilities. The division en- 
deavored instead to extend its control 
over the distribution of construction ma- 
chinery. As the situation stood at the begin- 
ning of 1942 there were a number of le- 
gitimate claimants for the products of the 
construction machinery industry. Farmers 
had to have tractors. Other segments of the 
civilian economy needed shovels and road 
graders, if only for purposes of repair. 
OCE's Construction Division had to see 
that its contractors had the machinery re- 
quired to finish Army camps and munitions 
plants speedily. The Navy, the Marine 
Corps, and the Ordnance Department were 
all in the market. Foreign countries, Great 
Britain in particular, had also requested 
large quantities of construction machinery. 
It was by way of international aid, in fact, 
that the Corps of Engineers acquired the de- 
sired measure of control over the distribu- 
tion of construction machinery and other 
scarce items of engineer equipment. 

According to the agreement announced 
by Roosevelt and Churchill in January 
1942, the military resources of both the 
United States and Britain were to be placed 
in a "common pool, about which the full- 
est information will be interchanged." 12 

10 Memo for File, 24 Jan 42, sub: Notes Taken 
at Knudsen's Conf, 24 Jan 42. 400.12 (S), Pt. 1. 

II ( 1 ) Hist of Gonstr Mach Div WPB. (2 ) Rqmts 
Br Diary, 8 May 42. 

III Quoted in Leighton and Coakley, op. ext., 
p. 252. The following discussion of methods of ad- 
ministering international aid is based upon Chapter 
X of this book. 



The common pool implied that supplies 
would be distributed on the basis of greatest 
need. The British were prone to define this 
in terms of troop deployment in active thea- 
ters; the Americans, to insist that they must 
assure equipment to their own rapidly ex- 
panding Army and build up a reserve for 
the future deployment of that Army. Even 
with the best of good will (and this was 
abundant on both sides), it was easier to 
arrange for interchange of information than 
to decide upon what facts were pertinent 
to present or upon how to apply the facts 
once presented. The War Department de- 
veloped elaborate procedures for exchang- 
ing information and for arriving at decisions 
for distribution of materiel in the common 

pool. {Chart 4) 

As applied to the Corps of Engineers, the 
foreign country submitted its requirements 
to Major Molnar's International Section 
about two months before a revision of the 
ASP. After the interested offices in the Sup- 
ply Division had studied these requirements 
in relation to the total procurement pro- 
gram, availability of materials, and so forth, 
the International Section recommended for 
or against approval. Dawson as chief of the 
Requirements Branch and Fowler as chief 
of the Supply Division either affirmed or 
vetoed this recommendation, which was 
then forwarded to the Engineer Subcom- 
mittee of the International Supply Com- 
mittee. The International Supply Commit- 
tee was composed of representatives of SOS, 
the General Staff, and the country to be 
supplied. The Engineer Subcommittee of 
the International Supply Committee was 
composed of representatives of the Supply 
Division and of the country to be supplied. 
Whether approved or disapproved by the 
Engineer Subcommittee, requirements went 
to the International Supply Committee for 

further action. Upon approval by the Inter- 
national Supply Committee, they were for- 
warded to the Requirements Division, SOS, 
which included them in the ASP, if ap- 
proved. If that office disapproved, the 
British could appeal to the Munitions As- 
signments Board (MAB), the joint U.S.- 
U.K. body established by the Combined 
(U.S. -U.K.) Chiefs of Staff to preside over 
the assignment of all military items. 13 

The requirements submitted by foreign 
countries fell into two broad categories of 
items: common and noncommon. Non- 
common items were those not needed by the 
U. S. Army. Once these items were author- 
ized for procurement, the requisitioning 
country stood an excellent chance of get- 
ting them. But since their procurement 
might interfere with the general productive 
effort, SOS was anxious to keep this type 
of international aid to a minimum. The 
temptation to seek large quantities of non- 
common items was considerably weakened 
by the fact that priorities assigned them were 
generally low and by the fact that a ma- 
jority of members of the International 
Supply Committee were in agreement with 
SOS policy. The trend toward procurement 
of common items was steadily upward. In 
1 943 common items accounted for approxi- 
mately 20 percent of international aid ex- 
penditures made by the Corps of Engineers; 
in 1944, for 60 percent; in 1945, for 75 
percent. 14 

Common items enjoyed a much more 
favorable delivery schedule than did non- 
common items, but they were subject to 

13 Rpt, Col Beverly C. Snow, 21 Oct 42, sub: 
Study of Intnl Br Sup Div OCE (hereinafter cited 
as Snow Rpt) . EHD files. 

" ( 1 ) International Aid [c. 1 Oct 42]. Intnl Div 
file, 310.1. (2) Testimony, Reybold, H Subcomm 
on Appropriations, Military Establishment Appro- 
priation Bill, 1946, Hearings, p. 616. 



FOWLER, Assistant Chief of Engineers 
for Supply, January 1942 until June 1944. 

closer scrutiny on the part of the Army when 
it came to releasing them to international 
aid account. Their inclusion in the ASP at 
the behest of a foreign country did not 
guarantee their assignment to that country. 
The situation in regard to greatest need 
could change radically between the time the 
product was included in the ASP and the 
time of its delivery. The ultimate authority 
on assignment was the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff, but relatively few cases were appealed 
that high. Usually appeals stopped with a 
decision of the Munitions Assignments 
Board. MAB delegated its work to commit- 
tees, the one applicable to the Corps of 
Engineers being the Munitions Assignments 
Committee (Ground). Like the Interna- 
tional Supply Committee which passed on 
requirements, MAC(G), which passed on 
assignments, came to be dominated by SOS. 

SOS had greater representation than any 
other group. More important, it was SOS 
which did the staff work, SOS which indi- 
cated the point where international aid en- 
croached upon the needs of the American 
Army. Yet the over-all guiding principle 
upon which decisions were made remained 
military strategy. For this reason the mem- 
ber from the Operations Division, General 
Staff, was always listened to respectfully. 
As to the British member, in view of the 
appeal procedures open to him and the po- 
litical pressures he could exert at yet higher 
levels, the American side of the table would 
scarcely have had the temerity to attempt 
to push him around. The Engineer Sub- 
committee of MAC(G), formed of repre- 
sentatives of the Supply Division and of the 
British Army Staff, took its cue from the 
sponsoring authority. It was in the Engineer 
Subcommittee that the lengthy exchange 
of information took place and it was here 
that most decisions on assignment were 
reached. Molnar recalled that many de- 
cisions had to be reached on the basis of 
scanty information. No doubt the foreign 
representatives experienced not a few dif- 
ficulties in extracting thoroughgoing justi- 
fications from their home governments. 
The SupdIv Division itself was to experience 
similar difficulties in securing information 
from theater commanders in the later years 
of the war. 15 

In the early months of 1942, however, 
the Engineer Subcommittee was passing 
upon a very small portion of the total of 
engineering supplies being procured for the 
British. Most of the British international aid 
funds for this type of equipment — $100,- 
000,000 of the $102,000,000 then avail- 
able — were in the hands of the Treasury 

15 (1) Snow Rpt. (2) Ltr, Molnar to C of Engr 
Hist Div, 26 Mar 55. (3) See below, bp. 500-5021 

2 « 










Department in line with that agency's re- 
sponsibility for procuring civilian goods for 
international aid. Priorities for this "non- 
military" equipment were generally low. In 
March 1942, with 2,300 tractors requisi- 
tioned, some of them as far back as August 

1941, the British had been given to under- 
stand they could expect no deliveries until 
the following December. The British were 
reasonably assured of faring better if the 
Corps of Engineers took over procurement 
from the Treasury Department. The Corps 
viewed this transfer of procurement respon- 
sibility not only as an opportunity to help 
the British, with whose position it was 
sympathetic, but also as a means of gain- 
ing a larger voice in the production and dis- 
tribution of construction machinery. In May 

1942, final arrangements for this transfer 
were made. 18 

Meanwhile the Supply Division, voicing 
alarm over the great discrepancy between 
tractor production and the known require- 
ments of the several claimants, called upon 
SOS to arrange either for allocation of trac- 
tors or for sufficiently high priorities to 
satisfy emergency requirements. Brig. Gen. 
Lucius D. Clay, SOS Deputy Chief of Staff 
for Requirements and Resources, acted im- 
mediately. By the end of April, Clay had got 
WPB to agree to assign 85 percent of tractor 
production to the armed forces and the 
armed forces to agree to centralize procure- 
ment of tractors of the prime mover type in 
the Ordnance Department and those of the 
construction type in the Corps of Engineers. 
John H. Hassinger, commissioned a major 
in the Corps of Engineers, transferred from 
the Construction Machinery Division, WPB, 
to take charge of this program. Methods of 
allocation followed the general pattern es- 
tablished for the administration of interna- 
tional aid. MAB, subject to the Combined 

Chiefs of Staff, had ultimate authority 
which was delegated to MAC(G). Has- 
singer became chairman of an advisory com- 
mittee composed of representatives of the 
claimant agencies, including the British 
Army Staff, and SOS. This committee be- 
came the Subcommittee on Tractors for 
MAC(G) and as such usually had the final 
word on their assignment. 17 

The next agreement involving procure- 
ment and assignment to which the Engi- 
neers became a party embraced the whole 
category of construction machinery and 
more, and resulted in a unique arrangement 
in the administration of international aid. 
Within the Corps of Engineers the convic- 
tion that Americans had first call upon 
American production was as strong as in 
SOS headquarters and was to grow stronger 
as production failed to measure up to early 
expectations. In the first months of 1942, 
however, the Engineers showed consider- 
able concern over the fact that deliveries to 
the British were lagging far behind stated 
needs. Early in June 1942 Fowler asked 
Clay whether he would approve the estab- 
lishment of an Engineer-British strategic 

18 (1) 1st Ind, 26 Feb 42, on Ltr, British Army 
Staff to DCofS, 14 Feb 42. 400.333, England, Pt. 2. 
(2) Memo, C Engr British Army Staff for Comdr 
British Armv Staff, 5 Mar 42. Intnl Div file, 451.3, 
Alloc. (3) Memo, C of Sup Div for DA Dir SOS, 
26 Feb 42, sub: Proc of Tractors on DA. 400.333, 
Pt. 2. (4) Memo, Dawson for File, 6 May 42. Intnl 
Div file, 040, Treasury Dept. 

17 (1 ) Ltr, Sup Div for CG SOS, 30 Mar 42, sub: 
Rev of Priorities on Tractors. 400.1301, Pt. 5. (2) 
Memo, Maj W. W. Goodman for Secy MAC(G), 
1 Apr 42, sub : Tracklaying Tractor, Long Range 
Alloc for Approval (Not Asgmt). Constr Mach Br 
filp, Procedure for Alloc Tractors. (3) Hist of 
Constr Mach Div WPB. (4) Memo, Chm Tractor 
Subcomm for Members, 22 Jul 42, sub: Tractor 
Subcomm Mtg. Proc Div file, WD Conf Group for 
Tractors and Cranes. (5) Intnl Div ASF, Lend- 
Lease as of 30 Sep 45, Vol. I, pp. 261-62. (Here- 
inafter cited as Intnl Div ASF, Lend-Lease.) 



reserve. The idea had been germinating for 
some time. In January Brigadier W. E. R. 
Blood and Colonel Chorpening had agreed 
upon the desirability of maximum stand- 
ardization of British and American sup- 
plies. 18 In February, Reybold had urged 
upon the Deputy Chief of Staff a number of 
steps to increase the quantities of materiel 
being transferred to the British — specifically 
that the British Isles be counted a theater 
of operations and equipment earmarked for 
use there be upgraded accordingly, that 
equipment for British units already organ- 
ized or soon to be activated be afforded the 
same priority as similar equipment for 
American units, and that "a reasonable 
stock pile, the size of which is to be deter- 
mined by agreement between Brigadier 
Blood and my office, be considered an urgent 
necessity for the conduct of the war . . . ." 18 
The Deputy Chief of Staff preferred that 
higher priorities be sought on a case by case 
basis. 20 

But the idea of the stockpile would not 
down. The Engineers had long sought a re- 
serve. They wanted to stop having to fall 
back upon secondhand machinery to fill 
emergency requisitions. They wanted to be 
able to avoid situations such as had occurred 
late in March when a large and urgent re- 
quirement for construction machinery in 
Australia and New Zealand had forced 
them to figure out what could be spared 
from troop stocks and what they could 
gather together by transfer from the military 
construction program. They reasoned that 
more headway could be made if American 
and British needs were lumped together. 21 

Both General Clay and Col. Simon N. 
Frank, the chief of the Requirements and 
Resources Division, SOS, threw quick sup- 
port behind the project. The maximum 
number of items should be included, Clay 


Deputy Chief of Staff for Requirements and 
Resources. (Photograph taken 1943.) 

directed, and he promised them highest 
priority. Brigadier Blood, for the British, was 
equally enthusiastic. He believed that 90 
percent of engineer items required by the 
United Kingdom could be designated com- 
mon. On 13 July the International Supply 

M ( 1 ) Memo, G of Sup Div for ANMB, 28 Mar 
42, sub: Priorities on British DA, 5th Supplemental, 
1942. Intnl Div file, 400.1301, Pt. 5. (2) Ltr, Sup 
Div to CG SOS, 30 Mar 42, sub: Rev of Priorities 
on Tractors. Same file. (3) Intnl Sec Diary, 10 Jun 
42. (4) Memo, C of DA Sec for File, 29 Jan 42. 
Intnl Div file, 451.3. 

19 1st Ind, 26 Feb 42, on Ltr, British Army Staff 
to DCofS, 14 Feb 42. 400.333, England, Pt. 2. 

20 2d Ind, 2 Mar 42, on ltr cited n. 19. 

21 ( 1) Ltr, C of DA Sec to WPD WDGS, 27 Mar 
42, sub : Constr Engr Equip for Australia and New 
Zealand, with Ind, n.d. Intnl Div file, 400.333, 
Australia. (2) Memo, C of DA Sec for Major 
Malloch, 1 Apr 42, sub: Tractors and Constr Equip 
for Australia and New Zealand. Same file. (3) Ltr, 
Brig Gen Miles M. Dawson to Actg G of EHD, 31 
Mar 55. 



Committee reviewed a long list of 300 com- 
mon items as agreed upon by representatives 
of Blood's office and the Supply Division, 
OCE. For each item listed there were 
shown American and British requirements, 
minimum and maximum amounts to be 
stocked, and estimates of production by- 
quarters through the year 1943. The In- 
ternational Supply Committee accorded im- 
mediate approval for procurement of the 
quantities set forth in the list. 22 

The harmony that had prevailed during 
negotiations about the common stockpile 
was soon marred by a few sour notes. The 
Engineers had understood they would con- 
trol assignments. The British protested. 
This particular quarrel and other matters 
of disagreement came up before MAC(G) 
on 3 September. In an atmosphere de- 
scribed as tense, the British proposed that 
production anticipated in the following 
month be considered in making assign- 
ments. Clay supported the Engineers' objec- 
tion. Apparently the British wanted a stock- 
pile and not a stockpile, the general 
observed sarcastically. He would move that 
the stockpile revert to the Engineers and 
that the British bid for items in the usual 
way. After the British withdrew their origi- 
nal motion, Clay supported them completely 
in their insistence that the Engineers be 
required to submit bids to the engineer 
stockpile subcommittee which was being 
organized under MAC(G) and in case of 
failure to reach unanimous agreement to 
appeal the case to the higher body. The 
Corps of Engineers continued to protest this 
ruling which would have established the 
strange procedure of a component of the 
American Army justifying claims on the 
products of American industry. On 1 6 Oc- 
tober, MAC(G) reversed itself . Henceforth 
only the British would be required to bid. 

If the stockpile subcommittee unanimously 
agreed to approve the requisition and the 
items requested were physically on hand, 
assignment would be automatic. Otherwise, 
the British could take the usual course of 
appeal to MAC(G) . The engineer stockpile 
subcommittee thus had a freer hand in the 
distribution of supplies than did the Engi- 
neer Subcommittee or the Subcommittee on 
Tractors, for although in practice the unani- 
mous recommendations of the latter two 
subcommittees were usually followed by 
MAC(G), MAC(G) did review these rec- 
ommendations and could reverse them. 23 

Through the transfer of a large slice of 
procurement responsibility from the Treas- 
ury Department, centralization of the pro- 
curement of tractors, and creation of the 
common stockpile, the Corps of Engineers 
made noteworthy progress toward adminis- 
trative control of the items most vital to the 
performance of engineer troops. This control 
was to mitigate somewhat the effect of de- 
lays in the production of engineer equip- 

The Crisis in Production 

Production had been greatly accelerated 
in the six months after Pearl Harbor and 
was expected to rise at a still more rapid rate 
during the second half of 1942. Yet the pre- 
vailing mood was one of scarcity, and with 
good reason. In the summer of 1942 the 

" (1) Intnl Sec Diary, 10 and 11 Jun 42. (2) 
Rqmts Br Diary, 23 Jun 42. (3) Min, Engr Intnl 
Sup Subcomm, 6 Jul 42. Intnl Div file, 334, Min of 
Engr Intnl Sup Subcomm. (4) 2d Ind, 16 Jul 42, on 
Memo, Comdr British Army Staff for ExO MAB, 10 
Jul 42, sub: Engr and Trans Stores. Intnl Div file, 
334, Intnl Sup Subcomm. 

23 ( 1 ) Memo, C of Intnl Sec for C of Rqmts Br, 
4 Sep 42, sub: MAC Mtg, 3 Sep 42. Intnl Div file, 
334, MAC. (2) Intnl Div ASF, Lend-Lease, pp. 



steel shortage hit the nation with full force. 
True relief from the shortage awaited the 
opening of new steel plants. Meanwhile the 
war agencies could but intensify the reme- 
dies applied previously. Efforts could be 
made to reduce demand, particularly civil- 
ian demand, and attempts could be made 
to substitute more plentiful materials for 
steel. After these avenues, which were not 
extensive, had been explored to their limits 
the supply had to be divided on the basis of 
the relative importance assigned the various 
military programs. 

The development of an equitable and 
workable system of dividing up the supply 
of raw materials was the most challenging 
problem which faced the WPB during 1942. 
Dependence upon priorities to accomplish 
a rational distribution, although almost 
completely discredited, persisted in the ab- 
sence of anything better. Various allocations 
systems, administered according to the his- 
torians of the WPB largely by inspiration, 
were scarcely superior. In June the ANMB 
superimposed on the A-l series a hierarchy 
of priority ratings — A A-l to AA-4 with an 
AAA reserved for emergencies. Although 
this directive marked an improvement over 
those issued previously because it took 
quantities into account, production of the 
quantities contained therein would have 
consumed practically all of the supply of 
critical raw materials. Indirect military and 
essential civilian needs — domestic and 
Allied — were left to go begging until the 
WPB succeeded in slipping in an AA-2X 
band in August. 

The unanimous disapproval with which 
the WPB staff greeted the new priorities 
directive doubtless spurred that agency to 
adopt a master system, the Production Re- 
quirements Plan (PRP), for the allocation 
of materials. Under PRP, manufacturers 

applied to WPB for blanket priorities for 
materials needed for the next three months 
and WPB tried to allocate only the amount 
that would be available within that period. 
In point of fact the WPB had to base its 
allocations upon the very priorities it had 
called into question and at a time when 
manufacturers were scrambling to get or- 
ders rerated under the new directive. 
Hastily introduced and not universally pop- 
ular within the WPB itself, PRP suffered 
from an unusually large number of ad- 
ministrative and mechanical difficulties 
which generated much criticism. As it op- 
erated in the third quarter of 1942 the 
system was vulnerable on another and more 
basic score: it did not accomplish its main 
objective of bringing about a balance be- 
tween the supply of raw materials and 
scheduled production. 24 

In line with a formula established by the 
ANMB for assigning the new priority rat- 
ings, 50 percent of engineer Class II equip- 
ment slated for production in 1942 auto- 
matically received the top AA-1 rating; the 
remaining 50 percent, AA-2. No such 
formula was applied to Class IV and inter- 
national aid. Ratings for such supplies 
were thereupon established by the ANMB 
on the basis of justifications made by the 
services through SOS. In a submission to 
Clay on 8 July, Fowler recommended an 
AA-1 priority for: ( 1 ) airfield construction 
machinery; (2) pipelines, bridging, and 
other landing equipment for the preinva- 
sion build-up in the British Isles; (3) 100 
percent of the maximum stockpile, includ- 

al ( 1 ) Civilian Production Administration, Bureau 
of Demobilization, Industrial Mobilization for War: 
History of the War Production Board and Predeces- 
sor Agencies, 1940-1945, Vol. I, Program and Ad- 
ministration (Washington, 1947), pp. 295-300, 
453-74. (2) Smith, op. cit., Ch. VIII, pp. 45-48, 



ing replenishment; and (4) all nonorgani- 
zational equipment specifically requisi- 
tioned for combat operations. Other opera- 
tional and miscellaneous supplies for the 
American Army should have an AA-2 ; all 
noncommon international aid supplies an 
AA-4 rating. A week later Clay notified 
Fowler of the lower ratings SOS was pre- 
pared to fight for. An AA-1 would be sought 
for ( 1 ) all materiel for the build-up in 
Britain, to include airfield construction ma- 
chinery and landing equipment, (2) about 
25 percent of the stockpile, and ( 3 ) equip- 
ment specifically requisitioned; an AA-2 
for ( 1 ) equipment for overseas bases "certi- 
fied as essential to operations" for airfield 
construction, for another 25 percent of the 
stockpile, and for filling requisitions, and 
(2) for miscellaneous supplies for the 
American Army; an AA-3 for the remain- 
ing 50 percent of the stockpile; and an 
AA-4 for the remainder of the international 
aid program. Although less than requested, 
these ratings placed the Engineer procure- 
ment program in a relatively favorable posi- 
tion. The trouble was that it took some time 
to get the new ratings approved and in the 
hands of the manufacturers and that alloca- 
tions under PRP were not bound completely 
to them. 26 

On 1 June Hassinger learned that prac- 
tically no steel had been allocated to con- 
struction machinery manufacturers for the 
third quarter of the year. He and Chorpen- 
ing conferred immediately with Clay, with 
members of the Executive Committee, 
ANMB, and with representatives of the 
Construction Machinery Branch, WPB. All 
seemed sympathetic and anxious to help. 
Tractors stood to fare reasonably well be- 
cause they were already allocated. It looked 
as if shovels and cranes would soon be al- 
located also. Three days after this meeting 

Hassinger learned from ANMB that if ac- 
tion were not taken at once all the tractor 
factories would be excluded from the July 
steel rollings. Efforts to get desired quantities 
of steel to the construction machinery man- 
ufacturers met with but partial success. The 
Caterpillar Tractor Company, for example, 
put in for 72,422 tons and received but 
47,653. 28 

"The problem of production is becoming 
more and more serious," declared Hassinger 
on 23 June. "The War Production Board is 
having increasing difficulty in getting criti- 
cal material for all types of construction ma- 
chinery. Our losses in production in the 2nd 
quarter will be a great deal more than any- 
one anticipated. Unfortunately, these losses 
appear to be in the . . . large tractors . . . 
we need the most." Although exact figures 
would not be available until late in July, 
Hassinger was certain that "Caterpillar 
with their D-8 will be down . . . more than 
36 percent . . . from the estimated produc- 
tion. ... In this same class, the Allis- 
Chalmers with their H-D 14 will be down 
. . . more than 50 percent, and the Cleve- 
land Tractor Company with their Model 
FD tractor will show a loss of nearly 60 per- 
cent. " ZT An analysis made late in June re- 

M (l) Smith, op. cit., Ch. VIII, p. 45. (2) Memo, 
C of Sup Div for Clay, 8 Jul 42, sub: Priorities for 
Sec. Ill, ASP, with 1st Ind, 17 Jul 42. AG 400 (4- 
17-42), Sec. 1. (3) Memo, C of Intnl Sec for Opns 
Sec Rqmts Br, 14 Aug 42, sub: Priority Ratings for 
Stockpile Items. 400.1301, Pt. 1. 

28 ( 1 ) Rqmts Br Equip Control Sec Alloc Subsec 
Diary (hereafter referred to as Hassinger Diary), 
10 and 15 Jun 42. (2) MPR, Sec. 6, Nov 42. For a 
bibliography of MPR's see Adm Sv Div, DRB AGO, 
Descriptive List of Monthly Progress Reports of 
Headquarters Army Service Forces, September 
1942-May 1946 (Inventory No. 200.02, Pt. 1, 
Washington, April 1950.) 

"Hassinger Diary, 23 Jun 42. Unless otherwise 
noted, the remainder of this section is based upon 
entries in this diary. 



vealed that the number of large tractors 
available would be about 87 short of troop 
requirements. The following month a sud- 
den demand for over 200 heavy tractors for 
units to be activated under the new troop 
basis sent Hassinger flying to WPB to plead 
that some be released from the 15 percent 
reserved for civilian use. He came away 
with 115 tractors, but most of them were 
low-powered machines. 

At the end of July, with the new AA 
ratings being flourished about by some pro- 
ducers, tractor manufacturers were trying 
to get steel on an A-l-a priority. They 
couldn't. Fowler notified WPB that there 
had been "continual shutdowns of assembly 
lines due to the lack of critical materials." 28 
WPB's Construction Machinery Division 
robbed Peter to pay Paul. It transferred 
steel from the manufacture of relatively less 
essential types of construction machinery to 
that of tractors and shovels. 

In August another shortage, that of diesel 
engines, which was itself partly due to lack 
of steel, began to interfere with the produc- 
tion of construction machinery. Following a 
directive from the President to push the pro- 
duction of landing craft, the ANMB had 
granted the Navy an AA-1 priority for Gen- 
eral Motors diesel engines that superseded 
all other AA-1 ratings. It looked as if Allis- 
Chalmers would have to close three of its 
lines, and in fact by 20 August one line 
had been closed. The ANMB advised a deal 
with the Navy and if that failed an appeal to 
the General Staff. The Navy agreed to re- 
lease some engines, but only if they went 
into Navy tractors. By the end of the month 
the question had gone to the General Staff. 
Within ten days representatives of the Navy, 
SOS, Ordnance, and Engineers had met 
and reached an agreement. Under its terms 
the Navy diverted some engines from land- 

ing craft, Ordnance some from tanks, and 
SOS some slated for export under lend- 
lease. The Engineers got all the tractor en- 
gines requested. 

With chronic shortages on the one hand, 
urgings to expedite production on the oth- 
er, and a mass of paper flowing in all di- 
rections and piled up in the middle, man- 
ufacturers themselves were hard put to 
maintain a patient attitude. It took more 
than four pages of single-spaced type for 
an official of the Caterpillar Tractor Com- 
pany to detail his woes to the Production 
Division, SOS. He was amazed to hear talk 
of expanding the tractor industry at the 
very time his company was assembling trac- 
tors at about 50 percent of capacity. Some 
departments at Caterpillar, those that had 
sufficient materials, were operating at ca- 
pacity. The result was an unbalanced in- 
ventory. "Our track-type tractor shipments 
are currently under the pace as of a year 
ago, while we have a thirteen million dollar 
larger inventory. I realize," he reported 
from Peoria, "that thirteen million dollars 
sounds like two bits in Washington, but to 
us it is still a whale of a lot of money, and 
it is a lot of iron." Improvement in the flow 
of paper would help a lot, he claimed. Al- 
most up to the minute he started to write the 
letter Caterpillar was holding 398 tractors 
for lack of bills of lading, releases, and 
shipping instructions. Now the situation had 
been improved. "It was discovered that a 
civilian representative of the Corps of En- 
gineers stationed here in our office was sit- 
ting comfortably on 68 Bills of Lading. He 
has also disgorged 30 more, but I am not 
quite sure whether it is he or Chicago who 
is responsible for the delay of these 30. It 

28 Ltr, C of Sup Div to C of Tractor Sec Constr 
Mach Br WPB, 24 Jul 42, sub: Priority Rating for 
the Tracklaying Tractor Industry. 451.3, Pt. 8. 



has been said that we have not asked for 
these Bills of Lading — that is not true be- 
cause we have asked for them repeatedly. 
And just exactly why we should have to ask 
for them in the first place is a bit beyond my 
comprehension." Having got a lot off his 
chest, the Caterpillar official added a con- 
ciliatory postscript : "After returning home 
I was more severely critical of ourselves than 
I was of Governmental Agencies while in 
Washington. Our skirts are none too clean 
either. We are going to do better." 28 

It was Hassinger's hope that Caterpillar 
would do better. The Engineers had a great 
deal at stake for they had settled upon the 
Caterpillar tractor for their own troops to 
the exclusion of other makes. Specifically 
Hassinger complained that the factory had 
supplied faulty information as to the num- 
ber of tractors produced, that its requests 
for aid in getting critical materials were in- 
accurate, and that the factory had too few 
expediters. During the fall of 1942 the Pro- 
duction Division, SOS, and the Supply Di- 
vision, OCE, worked closely with the of- 
ficials of the Caterpillar Company in an 
effort to iron out their production difficul- 
ties. These co-operative efforts got results. 
By early October, Hassinger reported with 
satisfaction that Caterpillar had increased 

its expediters from a handful of persons to 
seventy "and are only beginning to find out 
that they can help themselves on many of 
the problems that they thought were without 
solution." He considered the situation well 
under control and predicted an immediate 
improvement in operations. 30 

There were at least two more bright spots 
in the picture in the fall of 1942. One was 
that during the weeks ending the 5 th and 
1 2th of September the tractor factories had 
for the first time since the beginning of al- 
location actually shipped more tractors than 
were scheduled. The other was the decision 
to centralize the procurement of construc- 
tion-type cranes and shovels in the Corps 
of Engineers. 31 These encouraging signs 
could not hide the fact that Engineer pro- 
curement was behind schedule at the end 
of the third quarter of 1942. Production of 
landing mats, bridges, boats, searchlights, 
and precision instruments, as well as con- 
struction machinery, was less than sched- 

m Ltr, Chm of Exec Comm Caterpillar Tractor 
Co. to C of Prod Div SOS, 29 Jun 42. 095, Cater- 
pillar Tractor Co. 

" Hassinger Diary, 6 Oct 42. 

31 SOS Cir 63, 18 Sep 42, sub: Pier and Ware- 
house Mat Handling Equip. 


The Cutback in Production Goals 

The unfavorable balance between de- 
liveries and stated requirements which 
characterized the Engineer procurement 
program in the fall of 1942 was far from 
unique. The crisis in production was general, 
making imperative a re-examination of over- 
all objectives. 

Attempts To Reduce the Army Supply 

For a number of months SOS had been 
trying and had by the end of the summer of 
1942 at least partially succeeded in cutting 
down on quantities of Class II equipment. 1 
In insisting that requirements be revised 
downward SOS was carrying out a policy 
first announced by the War Department in 
the fall of 1941 and reiterated in December 
of that year. T/BA's would be studied care- 
fully "with a view to eliminating therefrom 
all items which are not absolutely essential 
for combat" — in particular allowances of 
motor vehicles and other bulky equipment 
which consumed large amounts of cargo 
space. 2 Again in June 1942 the Chief of 
Staff instructed his Operations Division to 
review T/BA's. The Requirements Division, 
SOS, had meanwhile attacked the problem 
and could report "substantial reductions," 
among them a cut in engineer requirements 
for searchlights, ponton boats, and 6-ton 
pneumatic floats. Clay assured Somervell 
that the Requirements Division, SOS, would 
continue to press the services for further re- 

ductions and he expected forthcoming cuts 
to offset to a large extent the impending 
increase in the troop basis. This generaliza- 
tion did not hold true for the Engineers, 
although quantities of construction ma- 
chinery on the T/BA were reduced. As the 
Supply Division stated repeatedly, engineer 
requirements were geared to the character 
of military operations rather than to the 
number of men in the Army. The effect of 
reductions in organizational equipment was 
therefore to shift requirements from Class 
II to Class IV rather than to eliminate 
them. 3 

At the same time that the Requirements 
Division, SOS, was calling for reductions 
in the T/BA, it carried on a campaign for 
a re-examination of replacement and dis- 
tribution factors. The application of per- 
centages to amounts of initial issue in order 
to insure replacement of equipment upon 
its wearing out, destruction, or loss and to 
provide a sufficiency in the supply pipeline 
to insure a constant flow accounted for a 
large proportion of total requirements. In 

1 Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics, pp. 

3 Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs et al., 31 Dec 41, sub: 
Reduction of Equip Included in T/BA 1 Oct 41. 
400.34, Pt. 39A. 

a {l) Memo, Somervell for Clay, 14 Jun 42. 
AG 400 (4-17-42), Sec. 1. (2) Memo, Clay for 
Somervell, 17 Jun 42, sub: Reduction in Rqmts 
and Prod Programs, with Incl, Tab B. Same file. 
(3) T/BA 5, 1 Jun 42, 1 Dec 42. (4) Ltr, Dawson 
to Actg C of EHD, 31 Mar 55. 



1942, 55 percent of the ASP was in replace- 
ment and distribution. Naturally the Re- 
quirements Division, SOS, regarded this 
area as a fertile one for further cuts. The 
Supply Division, OCE, had its own reasons 
for failing to exhibit a corresponding 
enthusiasm. 4 

When in April 1942 SOS made its first 
inquiry about replacement and distribution 
factors, Fowler readily owned that re- 
placement factors had not been revised since 
1938 and strongly implied that they need 
not be in the foreseeable future. The current 
factors were 1 percent for all nonexpend- 
able items in the zone of interior and 10 
percent in theaters of operations. The Engi- 
neers had no experience on which to base 
a revision, Fowler argued. SOS should ban- 
ish the fear that overprocurement might 
result from the application of unrealistic 
factors. Admitted, the Supply Division em- 
ployed them in computing requirements. 
Admitted, the Supply Division purchased 
quantities to cover the replacement factor on 
initial issues. But replacement factors did not 
enter into buying thereafter. Subsequent 
purchases were "guided by actual needs to 
preserve stock levels, and not by the applica- 
tion of factors," Fowler explained. He de- 
clared further that replacement factors had 
little effect on issues to theaters of operations, 
their use being limited to establishing an 
initial reserve. Issues to maintain this reserve 
were based upon "the military situation," 5 

Although Fowler did not mention the fact 
at this time, the Engineers were relying 
heavily upon replacement factors to insure 
the shipment of sufficient quantities of engi- 
neer materiel. Because of the shortage of 
shipping space, very little Class IV equip- 
ment was being loaded. Top priority was 
going to the shipment of Class II supplies for 
units embarking for overseas. The extra al- 

lowances which accompanied units as a re- 
sult of the application of replacement fac- 
tors partially compensated" for badly needed 
Class IV equipment which could not be 
shipped. Once this equipment was delivered, 
theater engineers could and did put it to 
work without regard to its original status as 
a reserve. As Chorpening later expressed it, 
the Engineers felt that the replacement 
factor was "fundamentally 'a means to an 
end' and should not be considered other- 
wise." 6 

As for distribution factors, the Engineers 
had made no separate computation and saw 
no need for any. "Because Engineer supply 
functions are now in operation," Fowler 
argued, "because increases in issue will not 
produce proportionate increases in neces- 
sary echelons of stock, and because the un- 
certain precision of maintenance [replace- 
ment] factors for engineer equipment does 
not justify the refinement of a relatively 
small distribution factor, distribution factors 
are not considered justified or workable." 7 
The character of operations, not the number 
of men involved, determined the quantity of 
engineer supplies needed. Currently much 
engineer equipment was being shipped di- 
rect to the using organization or to a port. 

4 Rqmts Div ASF, Manual, Jul 43, sub: Deter- 
mination and Use of Maint Factors and Distr. 
EHD files. The term "maintenance factor" was 
used at this time to describe what was subsequently 
termed "replacement factor." The latter usage has 
been employed throughout the text in order to 
avoid confusion. 

"Memo, C of Rqmts Div SOS for CofEngrs, 6 
Apr 42, sub: Rev of Maint and Distr Factors, with 
1st Ind, 4 May 42. 400, Pt. 2. 

8 Ltr, ExO Sup Div to Dir Rqmts Div ASF, 4 
May 43, sub: Maint Factors for Constr Equip. 

7 1st Ind, 4 May 42, Fowler for C of Rqmts Div 
SOS, on Memo, C of Rqmts Div SOS for CofEngrs, 
6 Apr 42, sub: Rev of Maint and Distr Factors. 
400, Pt. 2. 



For all these reasons the Supply Division felt 
it unnecessary to render more than pro 
forma compliance with the request of SOS 
for a revision of replacement and distribu- 
tion factors. Setting aside the prescribed 
forms, the Supply Division drew up a sub- 
stitute which took account only of replace- 
ment factors. Reductions from the standard 
10 percent were made in a number of cases, 
chiefly on heavy expensive machinery in- 
tended for use in rear areas. 8 

The Requirements Division, SOS, in- 
sisted that the Supply Division could and 
must do better. The durability and length 
of service of engineer items were bound to 
vary considerably more than was indicated 
by the monotonous uniformity of the fac- 
tors. Further refinement of replacement fac- 
tors and assignment of a distribution factor 
to all items destined to be stocked was essen- 
tial for the planning and computation of 
requirements. Having been led to water the 
Engineers merely pretended to drink. 9 

The Supply Division placed the un- 
wanted job in charge of 1st Lt. Warren S. 
Davis, who had no experience or training 
to qualify him for it. The factors he worked 
up varied considerably from one category 
of equipment to another. Bridging was as- 
signed a replacement factor of 2 percent for 
the zone of interior, 6 percent in theaters of 
operations. Construction machinery re- 
ceived 2 percent in the zone of interior and 
8 percent overseas. A distribution factor of 
20 percent was assigned for bridging, and 
10 percent for construction machinery. 10 

Although SOS approved the new factors 
in mid-July, its Requirements Division 
served notice in September of its intention 
to force periodic adjustments. Davis, who 
represented the Supply Division at a meet- 
ing called to discuss the subject, became 
deeply disturbed as SOS unfolded its plans 

and he recalled the circumstances under 
which the engineer factors had been de- 
veloped. His own ignorance of the subject 
uppermost in his mind, he was dazzled by 
the brilliance of the seventy-five-page re- 
port prepared for the Ordnance Depart- 
ment by a board of seven lieutenant colonels. 
Back at his desk, he strongly recommended 
that the Engineers change their attitude 
and appoint a full-time staff to work on the 
subject as Ordnance had done instead of 
engaging in "sporadic bursts of attention 
and energy when such is called for by higher 
authority." The Supply Division shelved the 
lieutenant's recommendations, determined 
to postpone as long as possible the day when 
the Engineers might be forced to relinquish 
what had become an important safety valve 
in overseas supply. 11 

Tightening Controls on International Aid 

Another important consequence of the 
failure to meet production goals was a less 
liberal attitude in dispensing international 
aid. By September Somervell and Clay had 
established the firmer controls over inter- 
national aid that both desired and they sup- 
ported the International Division, SOS, in 
a drive for improvements in administration. 
Within the Corps of Engineers international 
aid had been administered from a section 
of the Requirements Branch under Colonel 
Molnar. In response to a directive from SOS 
on 23 September, the International Aid 
Section was named a branch of the Supply 
Division with the understanding that Mol- 

8 Ibid., with Incl, 1 May 42. 400, Pt. 2. 

* 2d Ind, 9 May 42, on memo cited ln. 7.| 

" ( 1 ) Memo, AC of Rqmts Br for C of Opns Sec, 
21 Sep 42, sub: Maint and Distr Factors. 400.4, 
Pt. 1. (2) Maint and Distr Factors Approved by 
SOS, 15 Sep 42. 400, Pt. 2. 

11 Memo cited n. 10 (1). 



nar would continue to report to his old boss, 
Dawson, in the latter's position as assistant 
executive officer of the Supply Division. 
None of the other branch chiefs went 
through this channel. 12 

This unique administrative arrangement 
was part of Fowler's plan for subordinating 
international aid to the needs of the Ameri- 
can Army, a plan he spelled out on 14 Oc- 
tober in a confidential memorandum to 
Dawson, Molnar, and Col. Beverly C. 
Snow, an Engineer officer recently assigned 
to study the international aid setup. Fowler 
wrote : 

a. Recommendations to International Sup- 
ply Committee regarding requests for pro- 
curement of supplies : 

( 1 ) The item must be an Engineer item 
in our Service. (Pipe lines and canning 
plants excepted) . 

(2) The item must be for the prosecu- 
tion of military operations in a Theater 
as distinguished from farming, manufac- 
turing and resource development. 

(3) The quantity recommended for 
approval must be justified by the size of 
the military force involved. 

(4) Procurement will not necessitate the 
dropping of essential items from the U. S. 
procurement program. 

b. Recommendations to Munitions Assign- 
ments Committee reference withdrawal from 
U. S. stocks. 

( 1 ) Non Common Stock Pile Items. 

(a) If a troop item, it must be des- 
tined for use by troops. 

(c) For any equipment, the amount 
recommended for withdrawal will 
not so deplete stock as to delay the 
equipping of U. S. troops or the fill- 
ing of requisitions for active U. S. 
Theaters. Weight will be given to 
the relative activity in the proposed 
foreign theater and the U. S. theater 
to be deprived of equipment. 

(2) Common Stock Pile Items. 

(a) To a reasonable extent, the Brit- 
ish have a "lien" on existing stocks, 

in that they were told that these 
stocks would be available to them in 
lieu of purchases that might have 
been made with Lend Lease funds 
but under a lower priority. 

(b) The proposed use must be in di- 
rect connection with military opera- 

(c) The quantities to be permitted to 
be withdrawn at any one time shall 
be in proper proportion to those 
used by our troops for similar opera- 
tions, and shall not so deplete stocks 
as to delay the filling of requisitions, 
on hand and anticipated, for active 
U. S. Theaters. For the present all 
U. S. Theaters will be considered 
active except the Caribbean The- 

(d) In event the replacement of items 
withdrawn from U. S. stock for 
Lend Lease becomes difficult by rea- 
son of action of A. and N. B., allo- 
cations by W. P. B. or other causes, 
a less liberal policy than above de- 
scribed will be followed. 13 

This was a tough policy, and Fowler was 
called upon to defend it almost immediately. 
On 21 October Snow submitted a report 
of his observations. He had talked to many 
persons in SOS, in other services, and to 
Brigadier Blood. He had studied the organi- 
zation charts and the flow of paper across 
the desks in the International Aid Branch. 
He was convinced that the Engineers were 
in effect slighting international aid. He be- 
lieved they should create an International 
Division at staff level to handle broad policy 
matters and free the International Aid 
Branch from Dawson's control. Unless the 
Chief of Engineers took this step or some- 

" (1) Leighton and Coakley, op. cit., pp. 261- 
62. (2) OCE Memo 191, 23 Sep 42, sub: Estab of 
Intnl Br. (3) Snow Rpt. (4) Memo, Fowler for 
Col Tulley, 22 Oct 42, sub: Intnl Aid. 400.333, 
Pt. 1. 

M Memo, Fowler for Snow, Dawson, and Molnar, 
14 Oct 42. Intnl Div file, 400.312. 



thing very like it, Snow warned, "it is prob- 
able that he will receive a directive from 
the Commanding General, Services of Sup- 
ply . ..." As if the threat of a directive from 
Somervell were not enough, Snow hinted 
darkly at troubles from another quarter. 
The British wanted more direct access to 
persons in OCE. They wanted a relaxation 
of specifications. They wanted less red tape 
in the Engineer Subcommittee. According 
to Snow, it was only the good offices of 
Brigadier Blood which had "persuaded a 
certain Minister to withhold representations 
on high levels concerning inability to obtain 
satisfactory action on Engineer items of In- 
ternational aid." Although Snow agreed 
that American troops should not do with- 
out, he felt that the British should be ac- 
corded "more consideration." Certainly 
they should be told why their requisitions 
could not be filled. Unless these steps were 
taken and Brigadier Blood's recommenda- 
tions acceded to, he predicted "a serious 
rift" in what he termed "the present har- 
monious relations" between the Corps of 
Engineers and the Office of the Chief Engi- 
neer, British Army Staff. 14 

The Snow report itself came as close to 
producing a rift as any conditions described 
therein. Fowler was outraged: 

Great stress is placed on the statements of 
the Chief Engineer, British Army Staff, to the 
effect that the British are not getting the sup- 
plies they need because the Chief of the Sup- 
ply Division places the needs of the American 
Army ahead of British needs. . . . The 
recommendations of the Supply Division be- 
fore the Munitions Assignments Committee 
have consistently followed the policies of that 
committee and their policies are certainly the 
policies of the War Department. Unless these 
policies are changed, the Chief of Engineers 
is bound to look after the needs of the Ameri- 
can Army first and it would be most unwise 
to have a "high level" coordinating officer 

make recommendations contrary to those of 
the Chief of the Supply Division. 15 

Fowler stated he knew of no instance when 
the British had not been told why their 
requisitions had been turned down. The 
British were perfectly free to contact officers 
in the Supply Division. He was aware that 
the Engineers had refused to approve the 
manufacture of nonstandard articles. He 
thought Brigadier Blood agreed that such 
production should be avoided in order to 
simplify the supply and maintenance of 
equipment. There had been disagreement 
over an Australian requisition for a million 
dollars worth of tractor spare parts. Blood 
had agreed with Molnar's view that the 
request was far in excess of actual need, that 
$300,000 worth of spare parts previously 
supplied was sufficient. "As a matter of fact, 
the British are getting a better deal than they 
could reasonably hope for under Lend Lease 
priorities through their interest in the 'Com- 
mon Stock Pile,' " Fowler asserted. "How- 
ever, if they continue to create trouble as in- 
dicated by the statements in this report, I 
am inclined to recommend the discontinu- 
ance of the 'Common Stock Pile' plan and 
to let the chips fall where they may, i. e., 
let the International Aid and the Munitions 
Assignments Committee decide each of their 
requests; we will merely state facts as to 
availability of stocks and materials." Fow- 
ler declared he would, however, issue orders 
to make the International Aid Branch inde- 
pendent in fact. Under the new setup 
Molnar would secure information about re- 
quirements from Dawson, about procure- 
ment from Seybold, and about specifications 
from Besson. He, Fowler, would pass upon 
all recommendations submitted by Molnar. 

" Snow Rpt. 

"Memo, Fowler for Tulley, 22 Oct 42, sub: 
Intnl Aid. 400.33, Pt. 1. 



"I cannot agree," he concluded, "that the 
recommendations coming from the Chief's 
office should represent the opinion of an 
officer who is in no way responsible for the 
supply of our forces. I do not believe that the 
War Department would want such recom- 
mendations." 16 

Shortly thereafter the channels througn 
which international aid was to be adminis- 
tered were clarified substantially along the 
lines Fowler had indicated. Although the de- 
clared intention was to set up the Interna- 
tional Aid Branch as a co-ordinate branch 
of the Supply Division, Dawson, as chief of 
the Requirements Branch, was to recom- 
mend action on all requisitions from Allied 
nations, and the final decision in case he 
and the chief of the International Aid 
Branch disagreed was to be made by the 
chief of the Supply Division or his assistant 
executive, Dawson, The form had changed; 
the substance had not. 17 

Once Fowler announced these decisions, 
the British graciously accepted them. "With 
my full support," wrote Brigadier Blood on 
18 November, "the operation of the Stock- 
pile is now virtually in the hands of the 
Chief of Engineers; he makes the assign- 
ment. . . ." In reality the British had re- 
ceived more than they were able to ship. 
The purpose of Blood's letter of 1 8 Novem- 
ber was to liberalize the policy whereby 
equipment not shipped within forty-five 
days could be reclaimed by the American 
Army. 18 All told, Great Britain received a 
total of $35,499,000 worth of engineer sup- 
plies in the calendar year 1942. 19 

Fourth Quarter Production and the Final 

With no relief from the tight materials 
situation in sight, the Engineers entered the 

fourth quarter of 1942 with a procurement 
program that was swollen by the sharp rise 
in their troop basis. In May the Engineer 
program had stood at $939,600,000. In 
November, at the very time the total ASP 
was drastically reduced to bring it into closer 
balance with production possibilities, the 
Engineer portion rose to $1,356,800,000. 20 
Over and above this were Class IV requi- 
sitions which were filled on an emergency 
basis and thus did not appear in the ASP. 
Efforts to arrive at a more refined estimate 
of Class IV requirements were doomed to 
fail in this early stage of the war. Strategic 
plans were rarely firmed up much in ad- 
vance of operations. The decision to invade 
North Africa in November 1942 was not 
made until late July. Strategists were most 
reluctant to reveal tentative plans lest they 
find themselves bound by logistical arrange- 
ments that were difficult to alter. There was, 
moreover, no formal liaison between the- 
ater commanders and the supply services. 
Under such circumstances the Supply Di- 
vision continued throughout 1942 to pur- 
chase much Class IV materiel upon short 
notice against requisitions forwarded by 
O&T. Unavoidable as it was, the practice 
of purchase by requisition constituted a 

18 Ibid. 

" (1) OCE Memo 211, 28 Oct 42, sub: Intnl 
Aid. (2) Memo, C of Sup Div for ExO Sup Div 
et al., 5 Nov 42, sub: Handling of Intnl Matters in 
Sup Div. Intnl Div file, 310.1, Intnl Div. 

,s Ltr, Blood to Clay, 18 Nov 42, sub: Engr 
Equip — Opn of 45-Day Rule. Intnl Div file, 400.29, 

M Theodore E. Whiting, Carrel I. Tod, and Anne 
P. Craft, "Lend-Lease," a chapter in Statistics, a 
volume in preparation for the series UNITED 

20 ( 1 ) ASP, Sec. I, 6 Apr 42, with changes to 
29 May 42, 12 Nov 42, Sec. Ill, 18 Sep 42. (2) 
Ltr, Sup Div to C of Prod Br Resources Div 
SOS, 8 Oct 42, sub: Priorities for Increased Rqmts 
Required by ASP. Rqmts Br file, 400.1301, Pt. 1. 



serious block to the attempts of SOS and 
of WPB to achieve planned production, 
which was in turn an essential part of the 
effort to get on top of the raw materials 
shortage. 21 

The shortage of steel continued to domi- 
nate production during the fourth quarter 
of 1942. Through the Production Require- 
ments Plan of allocation the WPB suc- 
ceeded in bringing about a better balance 
between demand and supply. Since this 
balance was achieved for the most part by 
arbitrarily reducing demand, the principal 
merit of PRP lay in replacing the uncer- 
tainty as to whether or not materials would 
be supplied as needed with the certainty 
that they would not be. In August Hassinger 
learned of a proposed 20 percent cut in 
materials for the tractor industry. He began 
working for an amendment at once, but all 
efforts failed. Allocations for the fourth 
quarter were actually less than anticipated. 
Tractors suffered a cut of 30 percent; 
shovels, 25 percent; graders, 35 percent; 
engines for construction machinery, 10 
percent/ 2 

At the same time that the Supply Di- 
vision protested these cuts to SOS, it advised 
the field procurement offices to make the 
best of them. The WPB had done a "good 
job," the Procurement Branch informed the 
six procurement districts in mid-October. 
Some curtailment of production would re- 
sult and some confusion in scheduling would 
exist at first. It could be expected that 
"many companies will 'cry on your shoul- 
der.' " The procurement districts should 
take pains to explain the necessity to balance 
demand and supply. They should be alert 
but not too hasty in filing applications for 
additional materials from the reserve "kit- 
ty" that WPB had established for proven 
emergencies. 23 

Although by December 1942 monthly 
deliveries of construction machinery were 
valued at more than $35,000,000 as com- 
pared with $8,580,000 the previous Janu- 
ary and although the Corps of Engineers 
had received deliveries to an estimated value 
of $254,236,000 during the year, deliveries 
fell almost 25 percent short of r equirements 

as stated in December 1942. (Table 7] 
Since the December figures were in part at 
least the result of stating requirements in 
terms of anticipated production, the actual 
sh ortages we re doubtless larger than appear 


Table 7.| The following comparison of 
tractor requirements with deliveries shows 
a striking difference between what was 
stated as required, what was believed feas- 
ible to produce, and what was finally de- 
livered : 21 










4, 368 

2, 560 

2, 328 



3, 409 

2, 900 

2, 623 

2, 133 


t, 533 


I, 427 

1, 399 



5, 500 

5, 353 

4, 181 

11 (1) Leighton and Coakley, op. cit., pp. 296-97. 
(2) Rqmts Br Diary, 30 Nov 42. 

22 ( 1 ) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobiliza- 
tion, Ch. VIII, p. 123. (2) Hassinger Diary, 11 
Aug, 6 Oct 42. (3) Memo, C of Equip Control Sec 
for C of Proc Br, 22 Aug 42, sub: Ltr from W. 
Blackie, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Aug 19. Exec Of- 
fice Proc Div file, Tractors, Constr Mach. (4) Ltr, 
ACofEngrs to CG SOS, 15 Dec 42, sub: Rpt on 
Deliveries in the Tractor Industry. Mgt Br Proc Div 
file, Steel. 

23 Ltr, AC of Proc Br to Proc Dists, 17 Oct 42. 
sub: PRP Activities. Mgt Br Proc Div file, Instruc- 
tions to Dists, Procedural PRP. 

24 (1) Crawford and Cook, op cit., p. 16. (2) 
Chart, Relation of Deliveries to Rqmts, 1942, in 
CE Conf No. 3, 21 Jan 43. EHD files. (3) Memo, 
Maj William W. Goodman, Intnl Div SOS, for 
Secy MAC (G) , 10 Apr 42, sub: Tracklaying Trac- 
tor, Long Range Alloc for Approval. Constr Mach 
Br file, Second Quarter Alloc, 1942 (Svs 
Combined ) . 



Table 7 — Construction Machinery Annual Requirements as of December 1942 and 

Actual Deliveries in 1942 


Auger, earth, skid mounted, gasoline engine driven 

Compressors, air 

Trailer mounted, pneumatic tires, diesel engine driven, 315 cubic 

feet per minute 

Truck mounted, gasoline engine driven, 105 cubic feet per minute 

Crane, tractor operated, non-revolving, 20-ton, 20-foot boom 

Cranes and shovels, crawler mounted 

J4-cubic yard, 5- to 6-ton, Class II 

%-cubic yard, 7- to 10-ton, Class III 

\%- to 2-cubic yard, 30- to 40-ton, Class V 

Cranes and shovels, rubber tired 

%-cubic yard, 4- to 8-ton, Class X 

Crushing and screening plant, 2-unit, gasoline engine driven, semi- 
trailer mounted, 25 cubic yards per hour 

Distributor, bituminous material, trailer mounted. 1,250-gallon 

Ditching machine, ladder type, crawler mounted, gasoline engine 
driven, digging depth 8 feet, width 18 to 24 inches 

Graders, road 

Motorized, diesel engine driven, 12-foot moldboard 

Towed type, leaning wheel, hand controlled, 12-foot moldboard.. 

Hammer, gasoline, portable 


Concrete, gasoline engine driven, trailer mounted, 14-cubic foot 

Pugmill, with dryer and soil stabilization unit, semitrailer mounted 
Rollers, road 

Gasoline engine driven, 3-wheel, 10-ton 

Gasoline engine driven, tandem, 2-axle, 5- to 8-ton 

Towed type, sheepsfoot, 2-drum-in-line 

Rooter, road, cable operated, 3-tooth 

Saw, chain, gasoline engine driven, 36-inch blade 

Scrapers, road 

Towed type, cable operated, 8-cubic yard, Type III 

Towed type, cable operated, 12-cubic yard, Type IV 

Semitrailer, low bdd, rear loading, with dolly, 20-ton 

Tractors, crawler type, diesel engine driven, complete with accessories 

91 to 140 drawbar horsepower, Class I 

61 to 90 drawbar horsepower, Class II 

46 to 60 drawbar horsepower, Class III 

36 to 45 drawbar horsepower, Class IV 

Trailer, full, low [bed, 8-ton 

Welding and cutting set 


as of 
December 1942 









1, 388 





1, 158 









1, 229 




b 2, 133 
»> 1, 399 
4, 181 
1, 191 

Over or Short 






+ 16 

+ 7 


+ 29 



+ 170 
+ 126 
+ 100 



-1, 172 

+ 33 

*- Requirements net shown in available records. 

b These figures differ from those in Crawford and Cook, op. cit., which have been adjusted to include procurement by the Ordnance De- 

Source: (1) MPR, Sec. 1, Dec 42; 31 Jan 43; 28 Feb 43; 31 Aug 43. (2) Crawford and Cook, op. cit., pp. 25-27. 



At the end of the third quarter of 1942 the 
various claimants for tractors had been 
shipped the following percentages of their 
allocations : 25 

Recipient Percent 

Engineer Troops 69. 8 

Construction Division, OCE 94. 5 

Navy Bureau of Yards & Docks 80. 7 

Navy Ordnance 68. 4 

Navy Aeronautics (public works) 47.4 

Navy Aeronautics (equipage) 60.2 

Marine Corps 91. 8 

Ordnance Department 100.0 

United Kingdom 65. 5 

Australia 38. 

New Zealand 85. 5 

Like construction machinery, landing 
mats consumed large quantities of steel. 26 
Despite the urgency which had character- 
ized their development, requirements for 
landing mats were at first not large. In its 
original Class IV stockpile list, O&T recom- 
mended purchase of only 6,000,000 square 
feet. Early in February 1942, the Engineers 
and Air Forces agreed on a minimum of 
15,000,000 square feet. Thereafter demands 
increased rapidly. By midsummer the total 
required production of pierced plank mat 
was at 180,000,000 square feet — an amount 
that would consume from 70,000 to 100,000 
tons of steel per month or about one third 
of the nation's sheet capacity. Even with 
the AA-1 ratings they had, the producers 
of landing mat could not buy up this amount 
of steel. On 19 August WPB's Iron and 
Steel Production Branch told the Engineers 
it had no idea how much steel would be 
released to these producers. What saved the 
situation was a cutback in November, 
mainly in Navy requirements, to 130,000,- 
000 square feet. Deliveries for the year 
slightly exceeded this amount." 

In comparison with the amounts of con- 
struction machinery and landing mat the 
number of bridges and boats required by 

the Engineers was small. Important as the 
steel treadway bridge was to become in the 
European theater, only 36 were slated for 
delivery in 1942. Requirements for other 
bridges varied from 44 H-10's to 150 
Bailey's. Yet among them the H-20 was the 
only one delivered in the quantity desired. 
Here again shortages of raw materials — 
aluminum, plywood, and rubber, as well as 
steel — were the main reason for slippages in 
the program. Production of boats and pneu- 
matic floats was generally satisfactory, al- 
though deliveries of storm boats fell behind 
because of lack of engines. On the basis of 
dollar value, procurement of boats and 
bridges reached 90.3 percent of the amount 
programed for them, but only because some 
items were delivered ahead of schedule. 
{Table 8) 

In their attempt to procure precision in- 
struments the Engineers ran into shortages 
of aluminum and brass, and in pressing for 
increased allotments of these materials en- 
countered a "have-to-be-shown" attitude 
on the part of WPB that all possible sub- 
stitutions had been made. The Engineers 
insisted that the W. and L. E. Gurley Com- 
pany, the only firm having facilities for mass 

86 Memo, Hassinger for Capt G. E. Mumma, 
Chicago Engr Proc Dist Office, 19 Oct 42, sub: 
Tracklaying Tractor Shipments and Rqmts. Proc 
Div file, WD Conf Group for Tractors and Cranes, 

a " Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of this 
section is based upon: (1) MPR, Sec. I, Dec 42; 
Sec. VI, Nov 42; (2) Corresp in Exec Office Proc 
Div file, ASP; Mgt Br Proc Div file, Dierdorf Read 
File; and (3) CE Conf No. 3, 21 Jan 43, in EHD 

ST (1) Memo, AC of O&T Br for C of Sup Div, 
22 Dec 41, sub: Rev of Engr Rqmts List. 400.12, 
Pt. 109. (2) 1st Ind, 5 Feb 42, on Memo, C of Sup 
Div for AC of Air Staff A^, 27 Jan 42, sub: Rqmts 
for Landing Mat. EHD files. (3) ASP, Sec. I, 12 
Nov 42. (4) Tel Conv, Larry Miller, I&S Prod Br 
WPB, and Seybold, 19 Aug 42. Mgt Br Proc Div 
file, Landing Mat, Airplane 1 (C). 


Table 8 — Miscellaneous Equipment Annual Requirements as of December 1942 

and Actual Deliveries in 1942 



Assault, M-2, without paddles or canvas bag _ 

Reconnaissance, pneumatic, canvas, 2-man, without paddles 

Storm, plywood 

Utility, gasoline powered, 18-foot 

Motor, outboard, with chest and spares, SO to 55 hp 


Fixed steel 

Panel, Bailey type, M-2 

Box girder, H-10 

Box girder, H-20 

Ponton, steel 


25-ton b 

Raft, infantry support 

Treadway, steel 

Mapping Equipment 


Lensatic, luminous dial, liquid filled, 5 degree, 20 mil graduations 


Watch (thousands) 

Level, engineer, with tripod 

Reproduction equipment 

Topographic company, corps 

Topographic battalion 

Topographic company, Air Force Headquarters company 

Topographic company, aviation 


Stereoscope, magnifying mirror, with binoculars and case 

Transits, engineer 

Night illumination, 1-minute reading, with accessories and tripod, 

Type I 

Night illumination, 20-second reading, with accessories and tripod, 
Type II 




Landing Mat 

Steel, pierced-plank type (thousand square feet) 

Other types (thousand square feet) 

u irements 
as of 

mber 1942 


Over or Short 

11, 919 

14, 680 

+ 2, 761 

t fir 

J, 625 

5, 639 

+ 2, 014 


1, 131 




+ 125 






— 117 






+ 2 

■ 00 


+ 50 



— 55 

1, 037 


— 581 



— 10 


— O 1 






+ 308 



— 6 






— 13 



+ 16 


1 a on 
5, 48U 

1 A 7 1 
-f- 47 1 




1, 628 













14, 680 


» Dropped in November when the bridge, M-3, pneumatic, was adopted. 

L Procured as complete bridge seta during 1942. Thereafter components were procured and then assembled. [Tables 12 [ and [TTI ghow 
data for components rather than complete bridges as above. 

Sourer: (1) ASP, Sec. I, 12 Nov 42. (2) MPR, Sec. 1, 31 Dec 42, 31 Jan 43, 28 Feb 43. (3) Crawford and Cook, op. cU„ pp. 25-29. 



production, had gone to the limit in devis- 
ing plastic parts, a step which had resulted 
in saving almost two pounds of aluminum 
and over a pound of brass per instrument. 
They therefore joined with the company in 
welcoming an expert from WPB to help out. 
The expert departed "pleased" and promis- 
ing he "would present the picture in a dif- 
ferent and more favorable light to WPB." SB 
By 9 November Gurley had been given an 
AAA priority on both aluminum and alu- 
minum forgings, but it was too late to make 
up all of the lost production. By the end of 
the year a shortage of parts made of brass 
and bronze had also arisen at Gurley. A 
second manufacturer of precision instru- 
ments, the Eugene Dietzgen Company, 
began to accept Engineer orders in the last 
half of the year, but this firm had difficulty 
hiring skilled workers. The combined factors 
of materials and labor shortages caused pro- 
duction of one-minute transits to be 246 
short of the required production of 1,850, 
while only 840 of the twenty-second transits 
were delivered against an ASP of 1,628. On 
the other hand, deliveries of levels came to 
937 again st requirements of 629. 29 {See 
Table 8.)\ 

Although the development of radar was 
by 1944 to reduce the requirements for 
searchlights to zero, in 1942 the searchlight 
program had lost none of the urgency which 
had characterized it before Pearl Harbor. 
For 1942, required production of sixty-inch 
searchlights was 3,926, and anticipated 
needs for 1943 were still larger. To meet 
them the Engineers applied for permission 
to expand production facilities. In April, 
Under Secretary of War Patterson approved 
two loans from the Defense Plant Corpora- 
tion — one for $242,420 for machine tools 
for two subcontractors of Sperry Gyroscope, 
the other for $2,031,136 to enable General 

Electric to convert two of its plants. As it 
turned out, having the money did not help 
much. Despite frequent appeals for a higher 
priority rating, General Electric was unable 
to buy enough machine tools to produce 
complete searchlight units at the new plants 
until 1943. Even had plant operations got 
under way sooner it is doubtful whether the 
1942 program could have been met. An 
attempt to save aluminum and also to create 
a more mobile unit led to a new design 
which specified pressed steel. This redesign, 
the retooling which it caused, and troubles 
in procuring high quality bearings brought 
about delays that could scarcely have been 
overcome by operation of the new plants. 
The delivery of only 1,222 sixty-inch search- 
lights in 1942 was less than a third of the 
quantity requested. 3 " \(See Table 8.) 

Construction machinery, bridges, preci- 
sion instruments, and searchlights were the 

28 ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Proc Br to G of Conserv Br WPB, 
3 Nov 42, sub: Expert Advice Concerning Elimina- 
tion of Aluminum From Transits. 413.72, Pt. 1. (2) 
Memo, AC of Dev Br for Besson, 2 Dec 42, sub: 
Rpt on Conf at Troy, N. Y., with Representatives 
of WPB, Gurley Co., and Dev Br. Topo Br, Read 

20 (1) Memo, C of Purch Unit Proc Br for C of 
Proc Br, 12 Jun 42, sub: Purch of Transits. Den- 
man Personal File. (2) Ltr, C of Sched Br Chicago 
Engr Proc Dist to C of Proc Br, 22 Dec 42, sub: 
Eugene Dietzgen Co. Exec Office Proc Div file, 

w ( 1 ) Memo, C of Opns Br Proc Div for ACof- 
Engrs for Mil Sup, 21 Jan 44, sub: Sixty-Inch 
Searchlights. Exec Office Proc Div file, Engr Equip 
Misc 3. (2) WD Staff Conf, 22 May 42, sub: Sup, 
Proc, and Constr Activities of CE. 337, Engrs Corps 
of (C). (3) Memo, CofEngrs for USW, 4 Apr 42, 
sub: Defense Plant Corporation Agreement of Lease 
with Sperry Gyroscope Co. Mgt Br Proc Div file, 
Sperry Gyroscope Co., Plant Expansion. (4) Ltr, 
Sperry Gyroscope Co. to C of Proc Sec, 19 Mar 42. 
Same file. (5) OUSW, Memo of Approval 296, 1 
Apr 42. Exec Office Proc Div file, Gen Electric Co., 
Plant Expansion. (6) Ltr, Actg CofEngrs to CG 
SOS, 2 Dec 42, sub: Delays in Searchlight Prod. 
470.3, Pt. 1. 



programs that fell most seriously behind in 
1942. Although shortage of loom capacity 
interfered with production of camouflage 
nets, the Engineers succeeded in meeting 
81.5 percent of requirements for nets, and 
production of camouflage materials as a 
whole amounted to 95.1 percent of require- 
ments. In the case of trailers, production 
almost caught up with requirements after a 
slow start. 31 

One of the most successful of the Engi- 
neer procurement programs in 1942 was 
that for barrage balloons, which was trans- 
ferred from the AAF in March. Before 1942 
nearly all barrage balloon equipment had 
come from Great Britain so that the AAF 
was only beginning procurement at the time 
of the transfer. The AAF for the most part 
had taken over British designs, and the 
Engineer Board continued this policy, modi- 
fying the designs to fit military character- 
istics desired by the Coast Artillery Corps. 
Thus the D —8 low altitude balloon was 
modeled after the British Mark VIII. 32 

When the Engineers took over procure- 
ment of barrage balloons, deliveries were 
behind. They continued so through July. 
Then in August barrage balloon deliveries 
soared to over $35,000,000, an amount so 
great that the entire dollar value of Engineer 
procurement was raised to a new high not 
again reached in 1942. The barrage balloon 
program in 1942 met 98.1 percent of its re- 
quirements. During this time the British con- 
tinued to ship balloons to the United States 
as reverse lend-lease. The Engineers re- 
ceived 3,123 balloons from Britain while 
purchasing 3,900 from American manufac- 
turers. In addition to the balloons, the Brit- 
ish supplied 807 M— 1 winches and 1,011 
M-2 BB-Flying Cables, while the Engineers 
bought 1,885 winches and 3,480 cables. Of 
the major components of the barrage bal- 

loon set, only cables were significantly be- 
hind schedule at the end of the year, and 
enough of them had been delivered so that 
the Engineers did not believe an AAA rat- 
ing necessary. 33 

Daring the year, purchases of engineer 
equipment had increased from approxi- 
mately $25,000,000 in January to almost 
$91,000,000 in December, with the peak 
having been reached in August when large 
deliveries were made in preparation for the 
North African campaign and the upswing 
in the barrage balloon program occurred. 
The relation of deliveries to requirements 
for the major types of equipment was as 
follows: 34 

Type of Equipment Percent 

Total 84. 4 

Searchlights 48. 7 

Precision instruments 75. 1 

Construction equipment 76. 6 

Boats and bridges 90. 3 

Camouflage materials 95. 1 

Barrage balloons 98. 1 

Electric lighting equipment 98. 1 

Landing mats 109. 2 

Water supply equipment 118.2 

Miscellaneous 207. 3 

The shortages were not just on paper. As 
of the end of December requisitions for 
twenty-two major items could not be filled. 
(Table 9] Shortages notwithstanding, the 
Corps of Engineers had procured a vast 

31 (1) MPR, Sec. 1-A, 31 Mar 43, 30 Apr 43. 
(2) ASP, Sec. I, 12 Nov 42. (3) WD Conf, 28 Sep 
42, sub: Engrs Prod Program Conf. 337, Engrs 
Corps of (C). (4) Ltr, C of Sup Div to CG SOS, 
1 Jul 42, sub: Investigation of Mgt — Fruehauf 
Trailer Co. 095— Fruehauf Trailer Co. 

32 Engr Bd Hist Study, Balloons, pp. 3-4. 

33 Memo, C of Sup Div for File, 19 Mar 42, sub: 
Notes on Conf Concerning Transfer of Barrage Bal- 
loon Sup to CE. 337, Pt. L 

34 Chart, Relation of Deliveries to Rqmts, 1942, 
in CE Conf 3. EHD files. The percentages here 
given were computed by using all items included in 
SOS Monthly Progress Reports and will not agree 
in all cases with categories of equipment in Tables 
[7~|and[8^]which are not so inclusive. 



Table 9 — Unfilled Requisitions and the Availability of Depot Stocks: 

December 1942 



for Issue 

or in 




for Issue 

or in 

Short a gee 

Boats and Bridges 

Construction Machinery — 


Motor for boat, storm, 




Saw, chain, gasoline en- 

Bridge, ponton, 25-ton___ 




gine driven, 36-inch 

Raft, infantry support 




blade . 




Shops, motorized (9 

Camouflage Materials 

types) b _ 




Nets, garnished: ft 

Mapping Equipment 

22x22 feet 


16, 823 

25, 161 

30x30 feet 

2, 564 



Reproduction equip- 

36x44 feet_ 



20, 186 


45x45 feet 

3, 691 


3, 644 

Topographic company, 

corps _ . 



Construction Machinery 

Topographic battalion. 



Topographic company, 

Compressor, air, skid 

Air Force Headquar- 

mounted, gasoline 

ters company 



engine driven, 105 

Topographic company, 

cubic feet per min- 




ute _ 







Cranes and shovels, 

Transit, night illumina- 

crawler mounted 

tion, 20-second read- 

J4-cubic yard, 5- to 6- 

ing, Type II, with 

ton, Class II 




accessories and tri- 

%-cubic yard, 7- to 10- 





ton, Class IIL„ 




Hammer, gasoline, port- 






Roller, road, towed type, 





sheepsfoot, 2-drum- 




in-line._ _ 




a More than enough nets were in the process of being garnished to fill the requirements. 
b Seventy shops were available without chassis. 

Souta: Table, Items on Which Stocks Available for Issue or in Transit to Storage Are Not Equal to Existing Unfilled Requisitions on 
Depots, 23 Dec 42. 400.12, Pt. 1 (S). 



amount of materiel — $650,623,000 worth 
in fact — during 1942. Included in this total 
was over $61,560,000 in international aid. 35 

The Late Start in Maintenance of 

As this large quantity of equipment 
flowed out to American troops and Allies, 
the means of keeping it in running 
order demanded increasing attention. Pro- 
viding for efficient maintenance was not 
simply a matter of economy in the usual 
sense of monetary savings. As compared 
with steel and shipping and production fa- 
cilities, money was extremely plentiful. To 
replace what should be repaired was intol- 
erably wasteful of materials, transportation, 
and plant. Finally and most important, lack 
of proper maintenance might spell failure 
on the battlefield. 

The person who had worked longest and 
hardest to develop plans for the mainte- 
nance of engineer equipment was Lt. Col. 
C. Rodney Smith, who on 1 March 1942 
was transferred from the Engineer Board 
and placed in charge of a newly created 
Maintenance Section in the Requirements, 
Storage and Issue Branch, Supply Division. 
Although the recommendations made by 
Smith for the activation and training of a 
large number of maintenance troops in the 
summer of 1941 had been declared "gran- 
diose" and had not been put into effect, 
the fact is that the research and experimen- 
tation Smith had directed while at the Engi- 
neer Board had answered many basic 
questions about this hitherto neglected seg- 
ment of engineer supply. Smith arrived at 
OCE prepared to give general direction to 
a program he was largely responsible for 
formulating. 36 

This program had its base in the echelon 

system of maintenance established by the 
Army. First echelon maintenance was the 
responsibility of the operator of the equip- 
ment concerned. It consisted of running the 
machine properly, cleaning and oiling it 
regularly, making minor adjustments, and 
replacing parts that wear out rapidly such 
as tires, fan belts, and cutting edges. Such 
spares as well as common tools went with 
the machine. Second echelon maintenance 
was to be accomplished within the troop 
units by personnel specially trained for cop- 
ing with minor breakdowns. All major engi- 
neer units were equipped with a full range 
of hand tools, commonly used wrenches and 
sockets, a 10-ton hydraulic press with ac- 
cessory attachments, portable power drills, 
power grinder, and welding sets, and kept 
on hand a supply of frequently replaced 
parts and minor subassemblies such as car- 
buretors, clutches, and brakes. The engineer 
maintenance company, previously called the 
mobile shop company, was responsible for 
third echelon maintenance in the field. Its 
T/O called for 6 officers and 175 enlisted 
men comprising a headquarters platoon, a 
contact platoon to make on-the-spot re- 
pairs, and two maintenance platoons which 
were to fix equipment requiring evacuation 
to the platoon or company bivouac. The 
maintenance companies were supplied with 
light mobile repair shops — most of which 
had been developed by the Engineer Board 
with the expert assistance of the Couse 
Laboratories, Incorporated, of Newark, 
New Jersey — as well as major unit assem- 
blies and spare parts necessary for com- 
plete field overhaul. Fourth echelon main- 
tenance, including general overhaul, recla- 

w (1) Crawford and Cook, op. cit., p. 15. (2) 
ASF Stat Review. 

36 ( 1 ) Ltr, Smith to Lt Col A. Ma cMillan, 17 
Mar 42. 400.312, Pt. 6. (2) See above, [pp~35-36.| 



mation, salvage, rebuilding, and recondi- 
tioning, was the responsibility of the heavy 
shop company, a unit of 6 officers and 193 
enlisted men organized into a headquarters 
platoon, a manufacturing platoon, and a 
repair platoon. The heavy shop company 
would perform most of its work at a fixed 
installation such as a field depot, but it had 
some mobile shop facilities also. 37 

The dovetailing of skills and supplies 
upon which this system of maintenance de- 
pended was extremely difficult to achieve. 
Operators trained under the shortened pro- 
grams of 1942 caused more than the nor- 
mal number of breakdowns and multiplied 
the need for repairs. Given time, this situa- 
tion was bound to improve. The training of 
an operator did not stop with the completion 
of this specialist course. He went on to gain 
experience and skill. The threat to the effi- 
ciency of engineer maintenance was much 
greater from defects in the supply system 
than from shortcomings in training. 

In order for the various maintenance 
echelons to keep engineer equipment run- 
ning they had to have on hund a supply of 
spare parts sufficient in kind and in quantity. 
The key to assuring sufficiency in kind and 
to a large degree in quantity was to stand- 
ardize on a single make and model of a 
given type of equipment. Failure to stand- 
ardize meant that depots at home and over- 
seas, maintenance companies, and heavy 
shop companies would be compelled to stock 
many more parts. Identification, segrega- 
tion, and issue of all these spares would 
probably be complicated beyond the capa- 
bilities of the personnel distributing them. 
Achieving balanced stocks would be vasdy 
more difficult. Suppose it happened that 
shovels of a particular make and model 
got unusually hard usage. A shop company 
might find itself stocked with plenty of 

spares for another make of shovel but not 
enough to go around for those in need of 

For the limited number of special mili- 
tary items they procured, the Engineers were 
in much the same position as the Ordnance 
Department in ordering a rifle. All rifles of 
a certain caliber were manufactured ac- 
cording to a standard specification. So were 
all treadway bridges. But most engineer 
equipment was "commercial" rather than 
"military." With few exceptions the Supply 
Division was inclined to buy various kinds 
of shovels and other types of construc- 
tion machinery instead of standardizing 
upon one make and model. Three factors 
encouraged this practice. One of these 
factors — competitive bidding — although 
persistent, was the most readily modified. 
With advertising for bids out for the dura- 
tion, it required but a firm stand from those 
in authority to impress upon procurement 
officials the necessity for ordering the exact 
make and model specified. Another of these 
factors — the freedom allowed commanders 
overseas to requisition whatever make or 
model they happened to prefer — was some- 
what more difficult to control. Overseas 
commanders could scarcely be blamed for 
ordering blind. A new Class II Engineer 
Supply Catalog had been issued early in 
1942, but for Class IV items not listed on 
the T/BA they had only Sears, Roebuck and 
Montgomery Ward catalogs and their own 
past experience to look to in making up a 
requisition for equipment. Moreover these 
requisitions were edited by the Operations 

37 ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Sup Div to COs Engr Orgns 
et al., 23 May 42, sub: Engr Maint and Sup of 
Spare Parts. 400.4. (2) Engr Bd Hist Study, Engr 
Maint Equip. (3) TO&E 5-357, 1 Apr 42, 7 May 
42. There were five maintenance echelons by the 
end of the war. 



and Training Branch of the Troops Divi- 
sion which was inclined to supply the theater 
Engineer with exactly what he asked for on 
the time-honored theory that the man on 
the spot knows best and that failure to ac- 
complish missions may heap recriminations 
upon those who had not acceded to his 
wishes. But by far the most compelling factor 
operating against the standardization of en- 
gineer equipment was the tremendous de- 
mand for construction machinery which 
dictated the utilization of all facilities. Per- 
haps it would have been possible to over- 
come the natural reluctance of competitors 
to share their drawings and manufacturing 
processes in order to produce a standard 
model. Such a step was far from practical in 
1942. The WPB estimated it would take 
close to six months for tractor manufacturers 
to retool; meanwhile all production would 
have stopped. 38 

An alternative to standardization was 
a concentration of particular makes and 
models within using organizations. On 16 
April 1942, six weeks after Smith's arrival 
in OCE, the Supply Division announced its 
intention to promote this type of standardi- 
zation to the maximum : 

Except in extreme cases, only one make and 
model of any one type of power equipment 
should be procured in the future. . . . The 
practice of "splitting" orders for mechanical 
equipment among various firms should be 
stopped completely, except when the replace- 
ment parts for such equipment are inter- 
changeable, or when vitally urgent delivery 
dates cannot otherwise be met to any reason- 
able degree. Manufacturers should be pre- 
vented from changing models, using different 
sub-assemblies, bearings, clutches, carbure- 
tors, etc., except under extreme conditions of 
necessity. 39 

As a first step in support of this policy the 
Requirements Branch would prepare a list 
of major items of equipment giving the 

quantity of each make and model on hand 
and on order. Representatives of the Pro- 
curement and Development Branches 
would go over this list and recommend a 
standard make and model for each item. 
The Procurement Branch would see that 
manufacturers "froze" their models. Pro- 
curement of other than standard equip- 
ment — "in cases where adherence ... is 
impossible, or will not meet urgent delivery 
requirements" — would have to be approved 
by the executive officer of the Supply 
Division. 40 

Action within the Supply Division to put 
this directive in effect was slow. One month 
to the day after its issue the chief of the 
Purchasing Unit of the Procurement Branch 
wondered what progress was being made. 
"If this program is to be carried to the 
maximum degree of efficiency," he wrote, 
"it is believed that the list should be forth- 
coming as we are continuing to obtain 
requisitions for various types of equipment 
and there appears to be no definite progress 
as yet on standardization except for a few 
items." 11 Even on these few items confusion 
existed between the Requirements and Pro- 
curement Branches. There seemed so many 
more important things to do that summer — 
taking over the procurement of tractors, get- 
ting the common stockpile set up, adjusting 

38 ( 1 ) Maj Harry F. Kirkpatrick, Dev of Sup 
Plan for Engr Class IV Sup (typescript), 20 Dec 
45. EHD files. (2) Memo, Secy MAC(G) for 
Chm MAC (G) [c. 8 Apr 42], sub: Tracklaying 
Tractors, Long Range Allocs for Approval (Not 
Asgmt). Intnl Div file, 451.3 Alloc. (3) Ltr, AC 
of Intel Br to TAG, 4 Feb 42, sub: Cablegram to 
C of SPOB, London. 400.34, Pt. 40. 

33 Memo, Actg C of Sup Div for Br Cs of Sup 
Div, 16 Apr 42, sub: Standardization of Engr 
Equip. Exec Office Proc Div file, Proc Dists. 

40 Ibid. 

41 Memo, C of Purch Unit Proc Br for AC of 
Proc Br, 16 May 42, sub: Standardization of Engr 
Equip. Denman File, Misc. 



to a new system of raw materials allocation, 
struggling to equip newly activated units 
and task forces. Not until 3 August was 
Smith able to send "tentative preliminary" 
standardization data sheets to the Engineer 
Spare Parts Branch of the Columbus Gen- 
eral Depot which had taken over the prepa- 
ration of spare parts lists. 42 

Shortly after arriving in OCE Smith had 
called a meeting of Washington representa- 
tives of the principal manufacturers of en- 
gineer equipment, seeking their help in set- 
ting up a nucleus of experts for manning 
the Spare Parts Branch. He felt most fortu- 
nate in having persuaded Raymond L. Har- 
rison of the Harrison Equipment Company 
of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to accept a 
commission and to become head of the 
branch. Harrison in turn persuaded literally 
hundreds of experienced persons to leave 
their businesses and come to Columbus. 
Smith had the utmost confidence in the 
abilities of Harrison and his group, and thus 
deplored the more the delays in standardi- 
zation. 43 

It was 30 October before the publication 
of the list of standard makes and models con- 
templated in the 16 April directive. As 
finally issued, it sounded as if the Supply 
Division meant business. No deviation was 
to be made without the approval of its 
executive officer. Requests for such devia- 
tion were to be submitted only if there was 
no possibility of adjusting requirements to 
the manufacturer's ability to produce, the 
standard make and model could not be ob- 
tained in time to meet an urgent require- 
ment, there was no possibility of increasing 
production, or if the standard item had 
given unsatisfactory service. On 2 1 Novem- 
ber the Supply Division published a list of 
Standard Components of Standard Makes 
and Models. Manufacturers would be re- 

quired to adhere to this list in the installa- 
tion of magnetos, axles, clutches, brakes, and 
the like in the machines ordered for engi- 
neer use. 44 

Although much of the success of the drive 
for standardization depended upon the Op- 
erations and Training Branch of the Troops 
Division, which drew up requisitions for 
task forces and edited requisitions from 
overseas, this office was naturally not com- 
pelled to comply with orders issued by the 
chief of the Supply Division. On 7 Novem- 
ber the Requirements Branch forwarded a 
copy of the 30 October directive to O&T 
with a request that future requisitions specify 
only standard makes and models. If any 
deviation were necessary the reasons should 
be stated. On 25 November, with requisi- 
tions for nonstandard items still being re- 
ceived, the executive officer of the Supply 
Division felt compelled to address a some- 
what stronger plea for co-operation to the 
chief of O&T. 4 * 

Whether or not his arguments in favor of 
standardization would eventually prevail 

42 ( 1 ) Memo, Actg G of Proc Br for C of Rqmts 
Br, 2 Jul 42, sub: Standardization of Equip, Requi- 
sition E— 1587. Rqmts Br file, Standardization of 
Engr Equip. (2) Memo, C of Maint Sec for Equip 
Control Sec, 7 Jul 42, same sub. Same file. (3) Ltr, 
C of Maint Sec to Engr Sup Off Columbus Gen 
Depot, 3 Aug 42, sub: Standardization Data Sheets 
for Establishing Spare Parts Lists and Depot 
Stocks. 400.291, Columbus Gen Depot, Pt. 3. 

13 Interv, Brig Gen C. Rodney Smith, 6 May 55. 

11 ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Sup Div to All Brs Sup Div OCE 
et al., 30 Oct 42, sub: Standardization of Engr 
Equip, with Incl. 475, Engr Equip, Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, 
C of Sup Div to All Brs Sup Div OCE et al., 
21 Nov 42, sub: Standardization of Engr Equip, 
with Incl. Sup Div file, 400.34, Standard 

45 (I) Memo, C of Opns Sec Rqmts Br for O&T 
Br, 7 Nov 42, Sub: Standardization of Engr Equip. 
Rqmts Br file, Standardization of Engr Items. (2) 
Memo, Exec Office Sup Div for C of O&T Br, 25 
Nov 42, same sub. Same file. 



they could certainly not affect the situation 
immediately. Six months of continuing to 
buy a variety of makes and models had in- 
tervened since the policy of standardization 
was first announced. And six months of buy- 
ing in the quantities being purchased in 
1942 resulted in the entrance of extremely- 
large amounts of equipment into the En- 
gineer supply system. 

As if the continued purchase of different 
makes and models of new equipment were 
not sufficient harassment to Smith and his 
assistants, there was added the even more 
serious worry caused by the possibility that 
much secondhand machinery would have to 
be issued to troops. In April 1942 the Sup- 
ply Division received $25,000,000 ear- 
marked for the purchase of secondhand 
machines from sources such as state and 
municipal highway departments, for ex- 
ample. After the military construction pro- 
gram reached its peak in July, the Supply 
Division began to be urged to take over 
machinery no longer needed in building 
camps, airfields, and munitions plants. 
Clay wanted to tap this source for the com- 
mon stockpile. That this machinery was 
already owned by the government was the 
least of the several attractive aspects of the 
scheme. Its main appeal lay in the fact that 
the machines were readily available, or 
about to be made available, at the very time 
when production was far short of require- 
ments. Its disadvantages were readily ap- 
parent to those concerned about keeping 
the equipment in operation. 415 

In opposing the introduction of second- 
hand machinery into the military supply 
system, the Supply Division could argue 
from experience. Of the $25,000,000 avail- 
able, only about $2,000,000 had been spent. 
A halt had been called after what had been 
bought was found unsuitable. From Aus- 

tralia where secondhand machines had been 
sent in the urgent days following the fall of 
the Philippines came reports of dissatisfac- 
tion. Eight tractors received there had 
proved to be in such poor condition that 
they should have had a complete overhaul, 
but the supply of spare parts was too low to 
permit this. Consequently they were patched 
up and made to run, although not efficiently. 
According to an inspection report, the 
theater had come to prefer delay to the ship- 
ment of used machines. 47 

Yet SOS and WPB could not be con- 
vinced. The Construction Division, OCE, 
had about $95,000,000 worth of machinery 
less than eighteen months old and was pre- 
dicting early in September that by Novem- 
ber it could begin to turn over large quanti- 
ties to the Supply Division. By late Septem- 
ber the WPB was referring to $20,000,000 
worth of machinery which the Construction 
Division was about to declare surplus. Has- 
singer, fearful of the consequences of such 
an understanding, expressed his skepticism 
as to the amount that might be made avail- 
able in view of new construction projects 
just assigned, but he came away from a con- 
ference at WPB discouraged and deploring 
the absence of understanding there about 
the necessity for standardization of troop 
equipment. By mid-October, Hassinger felt 
his apprehension justified on all counts. On 
the 30th of September he learned that new 
tractors that had been supposed to come to 
troops as a result of the tapering off of the 
military construction program were to be al- 

m (1) 1st Ind, 15 Sep 42, on Memo, ACofS for 
Materiel SOS for CofEngrs, 11 Aug 42, sub: Sur- 
vey of Heavy Constr Equip. 413.8, Pt. 13. (2) 
Memo, C of Intnl Sec for C of Rqmts Br, 4 Sep 
42, sub: MAC Meeting, 3 Sep 42. Intnl Div file, 
334, Munitions Asgmt Comm. 

4I (1) Ind cited n. 46(1). (2) Memo, C of Sup 
Div for ACofS for Materiel SOS, 21 Oct 42, sub: 
Reduction in Prod of Tractors, with Incl. 451.3. 



located to the Construction Division after 
all. When the WPB cut the raw materials 
allocation so drastically for the fourth quar- 
ter, he attributed this action to the notion 
prevailing in WPB that the Supply Division 
would have received and would be able to 
use large quantities of secondhand ma- 
chinery. On 21 October, Fowler entered a 
strong protest with Clay against the cut and 
against the idea of sending used equipment 
overseas. The cut was not restored. The Sup- 
ply Division was resigned by this time to 
issuing some of the surplus machinery for 
troop training in the United States and by 
the end of November was discussing a pro- 
gram for reconditioning it with representa- 
tives of the Construction Division. There is 
scarcely room for doubt that shipments of 
secondhand machinery overseas remained 
the exception rather than the rule during 
the year 1942 not because the logic of main- 
tenance staffs had prevailed but because the 
Construction Division was not in a position 
to declare much of it surplus. It was fortu- 
nate that the Corps was afforded this period 
of grace. Varied as were the machines is- 
sued, they were for the most part at least 
new. By the time the Construction Division 
was in a position to release substantial 
numbers of machines, supplies had become 
more plentiful. 48 

In as much as standardization was basic 
to an efficient maintenance system the Corps 
of Engineers could not hope to approach 
perfection. But lack of standardization was 
not the sole cause of weakness in the main- 
tenance program. While the Supply Division 
had been conscious all along of the need to 
furnish enough parts for all echelons of 
maintenance, it was not until late in July 
that a comprehensive system was arrived at. 
Under the terms of the July directive, man- 
ufacturers of engineer equipment were to 
state the make and model of the machine 

they were supplying and the make and 
model of all its components, assemblies, and 
accessories, and to furnish catalogs of spare 
parts. The information furnished by the 
manufacturer was to be used by the Spare 
Parts Branch of the Columbus General 
Depot to draw up lists of spare parts for 
standard items of equipment and by the 
Maintenance Section, OCE, to prepare 
similar lists for nonstandard equipment. All 
specifications would henceforth include first 
echelon sets of spare parts which would be 
delivered by the manufacturer along with 
the machine. In addition, each contract 
would carry an order for an eighteen 
months' supply of parts for second, third, 
and fourth echelon maintenance. Delivery 
of second, third, and fourth echelon spares 
need not coincide with delivery of each ma- 
chine but was to be scheduled in balanced 
lots. Thus 20 percent of all spare parts 
should parallel the delivery of 20 percent 
of the equipment; another 20 percent of 
spares should be ready by the time 40 per- 
cent of the machines had been delivered. 
Spare parts would carry the same priority as 
the main order. 49 

18 (1) Hassinger Diary, 9 Sep, 29 Sep, 30 Sep 42. 
(2) Memo, G of Sup Div for ACofS for Materiel 
SOS, 21 Oct 42, sub: Reduction in Prod of Trac- 
tors. 451.3. (3) Opns Sec Rqmts Br Diary, 21 
Nov 42. 

" (1) Memo, C of Sup Div for All Br Cs Sup 
Div, 25 Jul 42, sub: Standard Procedure for Requi- 
sitioning Spare Parts With New Equip. Exec Off 
Proc Div file, Proc Dists. (2) Ltr, C of Maint Sec to 
Engr Sup Off Columbus Gen Depot, 22 Jul 42, 
sub: Priorities for Proc of Spare Parts. 400.1301, 
Pt. 6. 

The eighteen months' supply was subsequently 
reduced to twelve and the delivery schedules were 
also modified somewhat. See ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Sup Div 
to Br Cs Sup Div et al, 23 Oct 42, sub: Standard- 
ization Procedure for Requisitioning Spare Parts 
With New Equip. Exec Office Proc Div file, Proc 
Dists; and (2) Same to Same, 8 Dec 42, sub: Rev 
Standardization Procedure for Requisitioning and 
Purch Spare Parts With New Equip. 460, Pt. 1. 



To include an order for spare parts in 
the original contract the procurement or- 
ganization had to receive the appropri- 
ate list of spare parts promptly either 
from Columbus or from the Maintenance 
Section, OCE. The implication in the July 
directive was that Columbus could make 
lists for standard equipment available im- 
mediately. The Maintenance Section was 
allowed fifteen days to prepare lists for non- 
standard equipment. Late in October the 
Spare Parts Branch at Columbus took over 
the preparation of lists for both standard 
and nonstandard equipment and was given 
ten days after receipt of a requisition in 
which to draw them up. 50 Neither the Main- 
tenance Section nor the Columbus Spare 
Parts Branch kept abreast of this work. In 
September the chief of the Purchase Section, 
Procurement Branch, claimed his office had 
"never received a requisition in which the 
list of depot spare parts was available at the 
time the requisition was submitted." In De- 
cember he noted that lists of spare parts for 
standard equipment were not yet avail- 
able. 51 Smith could see for himself that the 
Columbus Spare Parts Branch was all too 
often taking much longer than ten days to 
forward spare parts lists to the procurement 
districts. Failure to follow through on the 
policy of standardization, insufficient data 
from manufacturers, noncompliance with 
routine procedures, inexperienced person- 
nel, and not enough personnel were, he felt, 
the main reasons for delays. "By no means 
should any one agency be blamed, especially 
not the Columbus Spare Parts Branch, 
which has performed a miracle of accom- 
plishment. At the same time, the most vigor- 
ous ACTION must be taken to get this huge 
job straightened out and on a clear track 
AT ONCE," he concluded in December 
1942. 52 

Lag though the program did, the quantity 
of spare parts placed on the order books was 
tremendous. It was so large in fact that man- 
ufacturers could not believe it represented a 
real need. The Maintenance Section could 
understand their skepticism. Under normal 
peacetime conditions of operation and ready 
access to dealers' stocks, the Maintenance 
Section figured a construction machine 
costing $2,500 would require approximately 
$750 worth of spare parts for eighteen 
months' maintenance. Under wartime con- 
ditions, with no dealers' stocks to fall back 
upon, $2,000 worth of parts were required. 63 

Requirement Value 
Total $2,000 

Actual use of parts 750 

Overseas depot stock 250 

Impounded in transit 375 

Estimated shipping losses 250 

Domestic depot stock 375 

Incredulity was not confined to the manu- 
facturers. Hassinger himself was amazed to 
learn from the Maintenance Section in Sep- 
tember that $12,000,000 worth of spare 
parts was required from the Caterpillar 
Tractor Company for engineer troop use. 
"This figure could not be produced in a 
reasonable time," he recorded in his di- 
ary, "even if we stopped producing trac- 
tors . . ." 51 

""Ltr, C of Sup Div to Br Cs Sup Div et al, 23 
Oct 42, sub: Standardization Procedure for Requisi- 
tioning Spare Parts With New Equip. Exec Office 
Proc Div file, Proc Dists. 

S1 ( 1 ) Memo, Denman for Actg G of Proc Br, 3 
Sep 42, sub : Comments on Procedure for Requisi- 
tioning Spare Parts With New Equip. Denman 
file, Proc of Spare Parts. (2) Memo, Denman for 
Seybold, 15 Dec 42, same sub. Same file. 

02 Maint Sec Diary, 24 Dec 42. 

53 Notes, Bunting, Maint Sec for Record, [c. Oct 
42]. Constr Mach Br Proc Div file, Spare Parts 

" Hassinger Diary, 15 Sep 42. 



Such large orders for spare parts were 
bound to compete w r ith new equipment for 
production facilities. The conflict was noted 
shortly after the middle of August. On the 
17th of that month Smith received instruc- 
tions from Fowler to begin shipments of 
spare parts at once for the build-up in 
Britain. Smith explained that Columbus was 
assembling stocks for this purpose but that 
he had instructed the depot to fill the back 
orders for other theaters also. If he struck 
this balance, shipments to England could 
not begin for several weeks. Fowler insisted 
that some parts be shipped immediately and 
that no shipment be delayed pending the 
assembly of fully balanced stocks, Columbus 
had already been directed to reduce procure- 
ment of spare parts from an eighteen 
months' to a twelve months' stock level. The 
executive officer of the Engineer Section at 
Columbus advised Smith to get an AAA 
priority or curtail the production of new ma- 
chines if he wished to catch up on the 

Fowler was not prepared to go this far. 
Efforts would be made to obtain more ma- 
terials for spare parts, for lack of materials 
was recognized as the real bottleneck. 55 
Whenever Columbus found deliveries of 
spare parts blocked by orders for new equip- 
ment, the case was to be referred to OCE 
"where the relative needs for spare parts 
and new equipment can be compared and 
a decision made as to whether equipment 
deliveries will be deferred, or whether we 
must go without spare parts." 56 On 29 
August the Procurement Branch notified 
inspecting officers of the production prefer- 
ence to be accorded where orders for spare 
parts themselves were in competition. De- 
livery of spare parts called for on the original 
order for new machines would take prece- 
dence over all but those "comparatively 

small orders for spare parts" to be made by 
Columbus for shipment directly overseas/' 7 
On 29 October priorities for the production 
of spare parts were spelled out in more 
detail : 

a. Spare parts orders placed by any pro- 
curement office for consignment direct to 
Ports of Embarkation. 

b. Spare parts orders placed by any pro- 
curement office for consignment direct to 
troops or other military projects (such as 
Alaska) but not via Ports of Embarkation. 

c. Spare parts furnished integrally with 
new machines as "first echelon" or "field" 
sets. This priority applies only to the first 
echelon and field sets of spare parts actually 
accompanying new machines. Depot stocks 
being procured concurrently with new ma- 
chines will be given the lower priority shown 
in subparagraph e below. 

d. Spare parts orders placed by the Engi- 
neer Supply Officer, Columbus Quartermas- 
ter Depot . . . for delivery to Columbus. 

e. Spare parts orders for Columbus Depot 
stocks procured concurrently with new ma- 
chines on purchase orders placed by any pro- 
curement office. 58 

Stocks of spare parts for second, third, and 
fourth echelon maintenance from which 
Columbus was supposed to supply engineer 
organizations all over the world got the 
lowest priority. 

Meanwhile the trail of woes attendant 
upon a multiplicity of makes and models 
and the failure to issue spare parts along 
with equipment had become apparent in 

55 (1) Maint Sec Diary, 17 Aug, 24 Aug, 25 Aug 
42, 12 Nov 42. (2) Ltr, C of Maint Sec to Engr 
Sup Off Columbus Gen Depot, 14 Aug 42, sub: 
Spare Parts Orders. 400.291, Pt 8. 

'■"Ltr cited n. 55(2). 

= ' Ltr, AC of Proc Br to Inspec Offs, 29 Aug 42, 
sub: Spare Parts Orders, CE Equip. 475, Engr 
Equip, Pt. 1. 

58 Ltr, C of Sup Div to Engr Proc Dists et al., 
29 Oct 42, sub: Relative Priorities for Expediting 
Delivery of Spare Parts Orders. 475, Engr Equip, 
Pt. 1. 



the European Theater of Operations 
(ETO). When Smith visited the ETO 
in September, there were practically no 
spare parts left. The only parts received 
until shortly before his arrival had been 
small stores brought along with organiza- 
tional equipment. Now the first shipments 
which should have gone out months before 
had begun to appear. Smith planned to 
build up stocks of spare parts as fast as 
possible to provide for approximately a 
year's maintenance and to keep them at that 
level by constant replenishment. In the be- 
ginning this would be most difficult to ac- 
complish, Smith warned : 

Because of the lack of standardization in 
existing Engineer equipment, efficient spare 
parts supply from the U. S. to the theater, and 
from the theater depot to troop organizations, 
can be maintained only if an up-to-date rec- 
ord is kept of the make, model and serial num- 
bers of all Engineer machines in the theater 
and transferred from this theater to other the- 
aters. As equipment is sent from this theater 
to other theaters, and as new equipment is 
received in the theater, these records must be 
brought up to date promptly. Otherwise it 
will be impossible to maintain proper depot 
stocks of spare parts, prepare replenishment 
requisitions, or adjust maximum stock level 
requirements for respective machines. 55 

Gradually, if the new policy of standardiza- 
tion were adhered to, nonstandard equip- 
ment should be squeezed out of the supply 
system. Very limited amounts of spare parts 
were to be stocked for nonstandard items. 
Standard equipment would be assured of 
spare parts from balanced depot stocks in 
the United States and overseas.™ 

Suddenly there appeared to be too many 
"ifs" and "buts," too many plans, too few 
results, to suit higher authority. On 2 No- 
vember, Fowler called Smith to his office 
and told him that Somervell was displeased. 
Spare parts must be procured with all new 

machines and be shipped with the ma- 
chines overseas. Accordingly Reybold had 
directed that "spare parts problems be 
solved forthwith." Smith could not promise 
to make good so soon. Strict adherence to 
standardization and to the procedures for 
procuring spare parts would, he assured 
Fowler, "pave the way toward satisfactory 
long-pull results." But he admitted that "the 
immediate situation was very unsatisfactory, 
in fact, critical," and predicted that in the 
best of circumstances it would remain so for 
at least two or three months. 61 

Smith's description and forecast can be 
applied to all phases of engineer supply at 
the end of 1942. Statements of require- 
ments were far from accurate. Production 
continued to lag. Shipments were behind 
schedule. In the Southwest Pacific, engineer 
supplies had reached but 50 percent of the 
required level, even though here as in the 
British Isles substantial quantities of ma- 
teriel had been furnished through reverse 
lend-lease. Engineer headquarters in the 
ETO had expected 75,000 cargo tons of 
materiel during the summer months alone. 
Only 75,400 tons were received during the 
entire year. Although in the last six months 
of 1942 shipments to this theater were much 
larger than previously, much of the equip- 
ment received was diverted to the campaign 
in North Africa. Heavy machinery needed 
for the large construction program under 
way in the United Kingdom was still in 
short supply in December. Class II equip- 
ment had not arrived in sufficient quantity 

°" Ltr, G of Maint Sec to Engr SOS ETO, 22 Sep 
42, sub: Maint of Engr Equip in ETO. Intnl Div 
file, 400.314. 

m (1) Ibid. (2) Memo, ExO Sup Div for G of 
O&T Br, 25 Nov 42, sub: Standardization of Engr 
Equip. Rqmts Br file, Standardization of Engr 

1,1 Maint Sec Diary, 2 Nov 42. 



to meet current demand much less maintain 
the sixty-day stock level authorized. S2 

The failure of supplies to reach the 
theaters in desired quantities was as much 
the result of the scarcity of cargo ships as of 
insufficient production. The shortage of 
shipping was at least in part traceable to the 
shortage of steel. It was a characteristic of 
1942 that such limiting factors in produc- 
tion and distribution fed upon each other 
and swelled the total difficulty. Thus the 
shortage of steel and of industrial plants 
caused tractor manufacturers to steal from 
their spare parts bins in an attempt to in- 
crease production of complete machines. 63 

In view of the difficulties encountered, 
the 1942 record was impressive. Deliveries 
of goods reached unprecedented levels. 

Equally significant were the administrative 
arrangements, born of confusion and short- 
ages, which would make for smoother op- 
eration in the future. Centralized procure- 
ment of tractors and shovels and cranes, the 
creation of the common stockpile — both in- 
novations — were to bear the test of time. 
In the production of Engineer materiel as in 
the provision of Engineer officers and en- 
listed men, 1942 was the crucial year, the 
year of greatest challenge to the Corps in 
the United States. 

82 (1) Engineers of the Southwest Pacific, Vol. 
Vll, Engineer Supply, pp. 19-32,41. (2) Informa- 
tion from historians preparing volumes on the Corps 
of Engineers in the War Against Japan, and in the 
War Against Germany. 

(1) Leighton and Coakley, op. cit., p. 202 ff. 
(2) Opns Sec Rqmts Br Diary, 17 Dec 42. 


Reorganization for Global War 

The accelerated mobilization which fol- 
lowed the Japanese attack dominated mili- 
tary activities for many months. At the end 
of 1942 most of the Army was still in the 
United States and most of its weapons were 
still to be produced. By the summer of that 
year, however, the armed forces had begun 
to turn their eyes overseas. The landings in 
North Africa in November marked the end 
of a period of transition. The build-up con- 
tinued, but it was ever more intimately re- 
lated to specific military operations. 

During the remaining years of the war, 
engineer troops increased not only numeri- 
cally, as did most other services, but also in 
proportion to the Army as a whole. Only 
the Transportation Corps showed a similar 
trend, but the Transportation Corps was 
only about one third as large as the Corps 
of Engineers. In December 1943, with a 
strength of 561,066, the Engineers made 
up 7.5 percent of the Army. By May 1945, 
when the Army reached its peak, the Corps 
of Engineers with a strength of 688,182 
constituted 8.3 percent of the Army. 

{Chart 5) Greater in numbers and pro- 
portionate strength than any other of the 
seven technical services the Engineers ac- 
counted for about 25 percent of the strength 
of this group. The Engineer procurement 
program reached its peak in December 1944 
with the delivery in that month of over 
$190,000,000 worth of supplies. Dwarfed 
only by the programs of the Ordnance De- 

partment and the Quartermaster Corps, the 
value of Engineer procurement passed the 
billion mark in 1943 and the billion and 
three-quarters mark in 1944. While de- 
mands for the organization, training, and 
equipping of engineer troops continued un- 
abated during the years of 1943 and 1944, 
the military construction program reached 
its peak in the summer of 1942. The value 
of construction work put in place in 1943 
was $1,893,569,000 as against $5,565,975,- 
000 in 1942. In 1944 the program shrank to 
less than half a billion. 1 

This decline in the military construction 
program left the Engineers relatively free to 
concentrate upon the task of preparing 
troops and supplies for action overseas. At 
the same time the acceleration of troop 
movements in the latter part of 1943 in an- 
ticipation of major offensives both in Europe 
and in the Pacific brought pressure upon 
OCE for greater flexibility and speed in 
training and equipping troops. On 1 De- 
cember 1943, OCE was reorganized to con- 
form with this shift in emphasis. |( Chart 6j" 
Its structure was to remain essentially un- 
changed until the war in Europe had been 

At the top, the organization retained a 

1 ( 1 ) Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, Organiza- 
tion of Ground Combat Troops, p. 203. (2) Craw- 
ford and Cook, Statistics, p. 16. (3) Info from 
Office of the Comptroller of the Army. 



Chart 5 — Total Number of 



Troops, Continental United States 
i: 1942^5 






Source, Statistical and Aefounlina Adm S» Div, TAGQ. 

Control Branch for administrative manage- 
ment which reported to the Executive 
Officer, OCE. The rest of the organi- 
zation reported to a newly created Deputy 
Chief of Engineers in the person of General 
Robins who had been Assistant Chief of 
Engineers for Construction. The Offices of 
the Assistant Chiefs of Engineers for Con- 
struction and for Administration were 
abolished and all divisions and branches 
formerly under them were placed under 
Robins. Supervision of the remaining func- 
tions was divided between two assistant 

chiefs of Engineers. Fowler continued as As- 
sistant Chief of Engineers for Supply, in 
charge of the Procurement, Supply, Main- 
tenance, and International Divisions, until 
July 1944 when he was replaced by Brig. 
Gen. Rudolph C. Kuldell. Sturdevant's title 
changed from Assistant Chief of Engineers 
for Troops to Assistant Chief of Engineers 
for War Planning, symbolizing the shift of 
focus to the theaters of war. The War 
Plans (formerly Operations and Training 
Branch), Military Intelligence, and Engi- 
neering and Development Divisions were 

- K - 





















5 1 

1 E 

O .2 
<J U 




u c 
t- o 

2 c 

i e 

!5 c 



— g 

^ _> 

HI i/l 

CL. c 
— D 

— c 




grouped under the Assistant Chief of En- 
gineers for War Planning. In May 1944, 
Brig. Gen. Ludson D. Worsham succeeded 
Sturdevant in this position. 2 

On 12 March 1943 the command under 
which the Corps of Engineers had been ad- 
ministratively placed, the Services of Sup- 
ply, became the Army Service Forces 
(ASF). Somervell had become aware dur- 
ing the previous year that there was indeed 
something in a name. "Services of Supply" 
was not descriptive of many of the organi- 
zations contained therein, he wrote the Chief 
of Staff. It had, moreover, "an unhappy 
association with the last war." The title 
"Army Service Forces" would, he felt, "not 
only ... be more descriptive of the work 
assigned to us, but . . . would remove the 
stigma which has had an actual retarding 
effect in attaining the high state of morale 
which we must have if we are to accomplish 
our job properly." 3 Under the ASF the sup- 
ply services became technical services. Al- 
though this title was more palatable to the 
Corps of Engineers, the dropping of the 
word "supply" did not gainsay the fact that 
ASF saw its main job as the procurement 
and distribution of materiel. It was in this 
area that ASF could and did make its great- 
est contribution. With the wartime demand 
for goods placing an ever-increasing strain 
upon the nation's productive capacity, the 
ASF as a fighter for the Army's share and 
as an allocator of that share within the Army 
could not but demand the respect even of 
those who would have wished to curb its 
power. 4 

For the Engineers, however, procurement 
and distribution of supplies were subordi- 
nate to their primary logistical task, which 
was construction. The Corps felt little need 
for guidance from ASF in the organization 
and training of troops to perform construc- 

tion duties which had been part and parcel 
of the Engineer mission for many years. In- 
sofar as the Engineers felt that ASF was in- 
clined to slight this function, or worse still, 
to move in upon it in ignorance, the Corps 
was restive. In the late summer and the fall 
of 1943, moreover, the Engineers, and in- 
deed all of the technical services with the 
possible exception of the newcomer, the 
Transportation Corps, had cause for ex- 
treme resentment against ASF. 

From the outset Somervell had looked 
upon the organizational structure of ASF 
with disapproval. By the summer of 1943, 
thinking the time ripe for a change, Somer- 
vell and his advisers in his Control Division 
began to express alarm at overlapping func- 
tions and the resulting waste of manpower 
which inevitably accompanied them. For 
example, the Corps of Engineers was only 
one of seven technical services having pro- 
curement offices in Washington and in the 
field. Supervising them was Headquarters, 
ASF, and ASF's field agencies, the service 
commands. This same type of overlapping 
was present to some degree in the perform- 
ance of all the functions for which ASF was 
responsible. It could be eliminated, Somer- 
vell argued, by replacing the specialized, 
commodity type of organization represented 

2 (1) Ann Rpt OGE, 1944, 1945. (2) Orgn 
Chart, 1 Dec 43. (3) OCE Memo 395, 24 Nov 43. 
(4) OCE GO No. 23, 22 Nov 43. All in EHD files. 

3 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 9 Mar 43. AG 
300.4, SOS (3-9-43). 

4 The following are essential for an appraisal of 
ASF: (1) Millett, Organization and Role of ASF; 

(2) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization; 

(3) Industrial Mobilization for War, Vol. I; (4) 
War Records Section, Bureau of the Budget, The 
United States at War: Development and Adminis- 
tration of the War Program by the Federal Gov- 
ernment (Washington, n.d.); (5) Donald M. Nel- 
son, Arsenal of Democracy: The Story of American 
War Production (New York: Harcourt, Brace and 
Company, 1946). 



STURDEVANT, Assistant Chief of 
Engineers, Troop Division (War Plan- 
ning), January 1942 until May 1944. 

by the technical services with a functional 
organization. In plain words the technical 
services were to be abolished. 5 

If the plan were carried out the Corps of 
Engineers would no longer be responsible 
for military construction; this job would be 
supervised by a director of utilities. Simi- 
larly, a director of personnel would take over 
the supervision of organization and training ; 
a director of procurement, the purchase of 
engineer equipment; and a director of sup- 
ply, its distribution. The Chief of Engineers 
was to be given, it was subsequently under- 
stood, a responsible position in the head- 
quarters organization. The personnel of 
OCE and its field officers, insofar as they 
were needed, would be scattered throughout 
Headquarters, ASF, and its service com- 

mands. This goal was to be achieved in four 
steps beginning in October 1943 and ending 
in the spring of 1944. 

Aware of the tremendous opposition that 
would develop if the ultimate aims of the 
reorganization were known to those who 
would be most affected, ASF planners con- 
fined their discussion of the plan to higher 
officials of the War Department. Marshall 
indicated his approval, but Secretary of War 
Stimson sought the views of Under Secretary 
of War Patterson, who displayed little liking 
for most of the changes. Unexpectedly, in 
late September 1943 the outlines of the pro- 
posal — somewhat embellished by avowed 
enemies of the New Deal- — broke into the 
newspapers. In a story published on 25 Sep- 
tember, it was stated that five ranking "con- 
servative" officers, Reybold among them, 
were "slated to go," 8 In Somervell's ab- 
sence, Maj. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer, his chief 
of staff, worked hard to overcome the hos- 
tility that Stimson and Patterson now unmis- 
takably showed. Stimson and Patterson 
pointed to the fact, which no one in ASF 
attempted to deny, that the present organi- 
zation had proved workable. While ac- 
knowledging that the proposed organization 
might be more efficient in theory, they feared 
its practical result would be the creation of 
bad feeling and loss of morale. 

Upon learning that Stimson wished to 
talk over with those concerned the consoli- 
dation of training which was included as 
part of the first step in the reorganization, 
Styer called Reybold in for a conference. 
The Chief of Engineers was opposed to the 
loss of training functions, Styer reported to 

5 The discussion of the proposed reorganization 
of ASF is based upon Millett, op. cit., Ch. XXIV, 
and Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service in 
Peace and War, pp. 450-52. 

6 Millett, op. cit., p, 409. 



Somervell afterward, but was not expected 
to "indicate any strong opposition." 7 

The Engineers, meanwhile, had without 
fanfare made some organizational changes 
of their own as a reaction, it was later 
claimed, to the rumor that ASF intended to 
absorb the procurement organization. If the 
rivers and harbors divisions and districts 
were tied more closely to the procurement 
districts, it was suggested, ASF might be 
blocked. After all, the Commanding Gen- 
eral, ASF, had nothing to say about civil 
works; for such matters the Chief of Engi- 
neers reported directly to the Secretary of 
War. On 1 September 1943 the Engineers 
brought all their civil works divisions and 
districts into their procurement organiza- 
tion. Whether this step, whatever its motiva- 
tion, would have proved helpful in blocking 
the ASF reorganization was never put to the 
test. Secretary of War Stimson killed the 
scheme early in October. 8 

By 1944 passions had subsided. Perhaps 
indicative of the general feeling toward 
ASF at that time was Worsham's statement 
in May, shortly after he became Assistant 
Chief of Engineers for War Planning: 
"While in your own mind," he told his staff, 
"you may not approve of the organization 
of the Army, ASF does the best it can and 
they are the people with whom we have to 
work. Criticism gets back to them and con- 
sequently makes the situation even more 
difficult. The thing to do is to accept the 
facts and get the work accomplished even 
though there may be some obstacles that 
exist because of the magnitude of the organi- 
zation of which we are a part." 9 

In the organization and training of troops 
it was not simply the magnitude of the ASF 
organization that created obstacles. It was 
more explicitly the fact that engineer troops, 
like those of the six other technical services, 

were entering Army Ground Forces and 
Army Air Forces as well as Army Service 
Forces. Questions as to which of the three 
commands would control various types of 
units arose frequently. On the face of it the 
assignment of responsibility might appear 
simple : combat units to AGF ; service units 
to ASF and AAF. The trouble was that serv- 
ice units were destined to be employed both 
in the combat and in the communications 
zones and AGF operated on the maxim that 
troops should be trained and become ac- 
customed to working with units with which 
they would be associated overseas. 

The reorganization of March 1942 had 
little immediate effect upon the responsibil- 
ities of the Chief of Engineers for the for- 
mulation of doctrine and the organization 
and equipping of troops. Except in the case 
of aviation units the Chief of Engineers re- 
tained his primary position in these matters, 
albeit under the direction of ASF. As before, 
he was expected to co-ordinate plans and 
recommendations with other services in case 
of overlapping interests. The complication 
arose originally between AGF and ASF in 
the training of units. Organizations such as 
maintenance companies, depot companies, 
and general service regiments, which func- 
tioned both in direct support of ground 
combat troops and in the communications 
zone, were subjected to dual control. Some 
were assigned to AGF for training, others to 

The situation was further confused when 
it came to the troop basis. On 28 August 
1942, the War Department directed AGF 

1 Ibid., quoted p. 412. 

8 OCE Mgt Br Rpt, 7 Oct 47, sub: Orgn for 
Engr Proc. EHD files. For further details on the 
changes in th e Engineer procur ement organization, 
see below, pp. | 507-10 ,|521-22j|553^54] 

1 Wkly War Plan Conf, 22 May 44. War Plans 
Divfile (S). 



Control of Engineer Units, January 1943 

Army Ground Forces 

Special (amphibian) brigades" 
Combat regiments and battalions h 
Armored battalions c 
Heavy ponton battalions 
Light ponton companies 
Camouflage battalions and companies 
Topographic battalions (Army) and topo- 
graphic companies 
Water supply battalions 
Depot companies 
Maintenance companies 

* ASP was responsible for training and controlled T/O's except for the period January -March 1948. 

" Combat regiments, special service regiments, petroleum distribution companies, and port construction and 
repair groups are missing from the list of units contained in the 5 January 1943 document but are included here 
for tlie purpose of clarity. 

••'Also listed as AClF's responsibility were: motorized battalions, airborne battalions, and mountain 

Army Service Forces 

General and special service regiments b 

Separate battalions 

Dump truck companies 

Forestry companies 

Petroleum distribution companies b 

Port construction and repair groups b 

Topographic battalions (GHQ) 

Equipment companies 

Base shop battalions 

Heavy shop companies 

to determine the number and types of serv- 
ice units required for direct support of 
ground combat units. The determination of 
units needed for service of supply functions 
was left to ASF. During the fall of 1942 
the possibility of doing away with dual con- 
trol was discussed and a compromise 
reached. Responsibility for service units (ex- 
cept those peculiar to AAF) was divided 
between AGF and ASF on the basis of so- 
called primary interest. For the most part 
this meant that units needed for direct sup- 
port of combat troops would be under 
AGF's control. 10 

The decision left some questions un- 
answered. Units of the technical services 
were not easily classified. In December 1942 
the War Department laid down, for sta- 
tistical purposes, broad definitions of com- 
bat and service troops. Engineer combat 
battalions, along with ponton and treadway 
bridge units, were classified as combat 
troops at that time. By the end of 1944, how- 
ever, only divisional engineer units remained 

in the category of combat troops. Nondivi- 
sional combat battalions, ponton and tread- 
way bridge units, amphibian brigades, en- 
gineer aviation regiments and battalions, 
and light equipment companies were desig- 
nated combat support units. In 1944 the 
War Department also distinguished between 
two types of service units: combat service 
support units which would usually be em- 
ployed in the combat zone, and service sup- 

" ( 1 ) Memo, Maj W. W. Brotherton, O&T Br, 
to C of O&T Br, 14 Mar 42, sub: Conf with Gen 
Huebner, C of Tng Div SOS. 353, Pt. 18. (2) AG 
Ltr, 320.2 (3-13-42) to CGs AGF, AAF, and SOS, 
31 Mar 42, sub: Policies Governing T/Os and 
T/BAs. EAC file, 320.2, Gen. (3) Memo, ACofS 
G-3 (WDGCT 353, 5-30-42) for CGs AGF, 
AAF, and SOS, 30 Mar 42, sub: Responsibility 
for Tng. 353, Pt. 18. (4) AG Ltr, 320.2 (8-27-42) 
MS-G-M to CGs AGF, AAF, and SOS, 28 Aug 
42, sub: Trp Basis 1943. 320.2, Pt. 2 (S). (5) 
Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics, MS, Ch. 
X, pp. 53-61. OCMH. (6) Greenfield, Palmer, and 
Wiley, op. cit., p. 288. (7) Memo, ACofS G-3 
(WDGCT 320.2, Gen, 11-17-42) for CG SOS, 5 
Jan 43, sub: Sv Units. EAC file, 320.2, Gen. (8) 
Maj William Frierson, Activation Responsibilities 
(typescript) . OCMH, 



port units which would usually be em- 
ployed in the communications zone. 11 It was 
substantially this 1944 line between the 
combat service support category and the 
service support category that the War De- 
partment tried to draw between AGF and 
ASF types of units in January 1943, when 
control of the organization as well as the 
training of engineer units was specifically 
divided as in table opposite. 12 

Changes in AGF Units 
The redivision of responsibility for serv- 
ice units that occurred at the beginning of 
1943 was a prelude to further reorganiza- 
tion of the Army's tactical units. The gen- 
erosity in the allocation of manpower and 
equipment which characterized the 1942 
T/O's lasted only a few months. The War 
Department soon discovered it did not have 
the inexhaustible supply of manpower and 
materials it had originally expected and was 
compelled to alter its strategy and redis- 
tribute its strength. Early in October the 
shortage of rubber and of cargo ships forced 
a review of all T/O's with the purpose of 
cutting the number of vehicles 20 percent 
and the number of men 15 percent. 13 At the 
end of that month the War Department 
warned that the great bottleneck in shipping 
"may dictate a considerable change in our 
strategic concept with a consequent change 
in the basic structure of our Army. Since 
... it appears that early employment of 
a mass Army, which must be transported 
by water, is not practicable, it follows that 
the trend must be toward light, easily 
transportable units." After the hope for a 
cross-Channel invasion during 1942 had 
faded, the War Department began to con- 
centrate upon developing air power with 
the full knowledge that this step would "re- 
duce the number of men available for the 

ground forces" as well as "complicate, if not 
curtail, the procurement of heavy equip- 
ment for other than the Air Forces." 14 In 
November the War Department cut from 
1 40 to 100 the number of divisions that were 
to be ready by the end of 1943, and in Feb- 
ruary 1943 reduced the number still further 
to 90. 

The 1 943 reorganization of ground com- 
bat and service units was guided by all these 
considerations and by still others — not the 
least of which was the need to build a flexible 
Army that could fight a war under such 
diverse conditions as existed in Europe, the 
Mediterranean, the Southwest Pacific, and 
in India and other Far Eastern countries. 
Another factor of great consequence was the 
presence of Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair as 
commanding general of AGF. McNair up- 
held with great determination the principles 
for which he had fought during the re- 
organization of the thirties and specifically 
the belief that the most effective use of man- 
power lay in a concentration of maximum 
strength in fighting units, not service units. 
As a specialist on organization, McNair took 
a personal interest in almost every AGF unit 
which came up for review. This was not true 
of the other two commands. The AAF, 
which got preferential treatment in recruit- 
ment and materiel, did not face as much 
pressure to make economies in organization. 

11 ( 1 ) Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, op. cit., pp. 
167-68. (2) WD Cir 356, 2 Sep 44. (3) WD Trp 
Basis, 1 Oct 44. 

12 Incl, with Memo, ACofS G-3 (WDGGT 320.2, 
Gen, 11-17-42) for GG SOS, 5 Jan 43, sub: Sv 
Units. EAG file, 320.2, Gen. 

H Unless otherwise noted, this section is based 
upon Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, op. cit., pp. 
212-20, 271-76, 286-87, 298, 319-35, 352-57, 
372-75, and corresp in 322, Pt. 1. 

" Both passages quoted in Greenfield, Palmer, 
and Wiley, op. cit., p. 289. 



In ASF headquarters the organization of 
troops was of less interest than the execu- 
tion of supply functions. Moreover AGF 
was better able to concentrate upon organi- 
zation and training. AGF had no other tasks 
and a unity of approach was possible be- 
cause the organization of AGF units could 
be tied to the functions and capabilities of 
the infantry division. 

So far as AGF was concerned, the 1943 
reorganization, like previous ones, began 
with the infantry division itself. The engi- 
neer combat battalion, sharing in the gen- 
eral cut, was pared from 745 to 647 officers 
and men — a reduction from 4.66 to 4.5 
percent of the division's strength. Trucks, 
antitank weapons, infantry support rafts, 
and the motorized shop, all of which had 
been added in 1942, were now removed. 
For the duration of the war the strength 
and structure of the combat battalion re- 
mained much the same as fixed by the 1943 

When the armored division came under 
McNair's critical eye, it suffered a more 
drastic overhauling. The successful employ- 
ment of antitank guns and mines against 
American armor in North Africa caused the 
Army to press for more infantry support in 
armored units. The 1943 T/O for the 
armored division cut tank personnel by 55 
percent and increased infantry troops by 
about 20 percent. This step, taken in con- 
junction with the policy of economies in 
manpower, made radical cuts in other ele- 
ments of the division inevitable. McNair 
personally insisted that the engineer battal- 
ion be cut more than 40 percent, to about 
the size of the combat battalion of the in- 
fantry division. It was inconsistent, he 
pointed out, to argue on the one hand that 
tracked vehicles could move easily cross- 
country and on the other to demand a large 

complement of engineers to repair roads. 
Armored engineers had never fallen back on 
road repair to defend their presence in the 
armored division. But the proponents of 
armor had indeed stressed the mobility of 
tanks to such an extent that they laid the 
Engineers open to McNair's thrust. The 
wishes of everyone were fulfilled when the 
treadway bridge company was made a non- 
divisional unit. Thus detached, treadway 
bridge companies served all elements of the 
Army, since overseas commanders employed 
the treadway almost to the exclusion of all 
other ponton bridges. Under the table ap- 
proved in September 1943 the engineer 
armored battalion — once again consisting 
of three lettered companies — numbered 693 
officers and men. This represented a cut 
from 8 to 6.3 percent of the division's 

The number of divisional engineers had 
been reduced but their situation was far dif- 
ferent from what it was in the thirties when 
McNair had wanted to limit them to a 
company. In July 1943 he wrote: 

There is no lack of appreciation of the 
number of engineering functions or of the 
considerable overall strength of engineers 
needed. However, a division of whatever 
type is supposedly a mobile unit and [the] 
nature and extent of engineer operations 
under such conditions necessarily must be 

15 (1) T/Os 5-15, 5-16, 5-17, 1 Mar 43. (2) 
M/S, CG AGF to Rqmts AGF, 7 Dec 42. This 
document and succeeding M/Ss in AGF file, 320.3, 
Engrs T/Os, Pt. 1, cover the reorganization of the 
combat battalion. (3) Memo, Hq AGF for ACofS 
G 3, 21 Feb 43, sub: T/O and T/E Engr Combat 
Bn Inf Div. AG file 320.3 (10-30-41), Sec. 5, 

16 (1) M/S, Engr AGF to G-3 (Mob) AGF, 16 
Apr 43, sub: Treadway Bridge Co. AGF file 320.3, 
Engrs T/Os, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, Hq AGF for CofS 
WDGS, 26 Feb 43, sub: T/O&E for Engr Tread- 
way Bridge Co. AGF file 321, Engrs, Pt. 5. (3) Trp 
Basis, 1 Apr 45. (4) T/O&Es 5-216, 5-217, 15 
Sep 43. 



limited. If and when operations do not move 
so rapidly, it is readily possible to introduce 
engineers from the corps and army, reinforc- 
ing or relieving the division engineers of func- 
tions which are beyond their capabilities. 37 

During the thirties there had been some 
discussion of establishing pools of troop units 
which could be drawn upon to augment di- 
visional forces as needed for specific opera- 
tions. To achieve this end the Army had 
relied for planning purposes on the concept 
of type corps and type armies which served 
as a means of determining how many non- 
divisional units would usually be required to 
support a given number of divisions. Pre- 
scribed T/O's permitted the determination 
of troop requirements when the enemy and 
theater of operations were unknown. But 
even though used only for planning, type 
corps and type armies set up a rigid system 
comparable to that which would have ex- 
isted had all equipment been assigned or- 
ganically to units and none held in reserve 
for issue on demand. During the summer of 
1942 McNair sought to eliminate this rigid 
system and to establish a more flexible means 
of providing the requisite supporting ele- 

In his attempt to eliminate type corps and 
type armies, McNair had the Engineers' 
wholehearted support. In August 1942 the 
Corps presented a plan, concurred in by 
Col. John B. Hughes, the Ground Engineer, 
to remove all assigned engineer units from 
type armies and type corps. "The use of task 
forces of various strengths in all types of 
terrain demands a flexible organization that 
cannot be provided by the present Type 
Army Corps and Type Army," commented 
the executive officer of O&T. All engineer 
units in support of the division were to be 
placed in GHQ reserve. Combat regiments, 
to be made up of three battalions instead of 

two, were to be used for combat support. 
The separate battalion was to be eliminated 
and the general service regiment was to be- 
come solely a service unit, leaving one type 
of general unit, the combat regiment, in 
AGF, and one type, the general service regi- 
ment, in ASF. Finally the Engineers recom- 
mended the creation of a light equipment 
company to transport and operate the con- 
struction machinery that would be elimi- 
nated when combat regiments replaced gen- 
eral service regiments and separate battal- 

To provide the desired pool of supporting 
elements once the type corps and type army 
were eliminated, AGF proposed the creation 
of a group headquarters organization to 
which a variety of units might be tempo- 
rarily attached. Early in September 1942, 
Reybold agreed to go along with AGF's de- 
sire to organize corps and army combat en- 
gineers on the basis of groups rather than 
regiments provided there were sufficient 
group headquarters commanded by colonels 
so that from two to six combat battalions 
could be assigned to them. 19 

It was substantially on this basis that com- 
bat engineer troops in corps and armies were 
reorganized. On 19 January 1943 the War 
Department directed that the battalion- 
group system replace the regiment. As AGF 
conceived of the group about this time, it 
could be a combination of three combat 
battalions, an equipment company, and a 
maintenance company, or some combination 
of combat, ponton, and other units. The 
general service regiment and the separate 

17 Quoted in Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, op. 
cit., p. 377. 

18 Memo, ExO O&T for ACofS for Opns SOS, 
25 Aug 42, sub: Rev of Type Army Corps and 
Army Trps. 322, Gen (S). 

" Rpt of Activities of Mil Pers Br for Wk End- 
ing 11 Sep 42. 020, Engrs Office G of. 



battalion were eliminated from the combat 
echelon. This meant that construction in 
the combat zone would be performed by 
combat battalions and that there would be 
a greater depth in combat engineers. When 
operations slowed down, heavier reinforce- 
ments could be brought forward, 

With the over-all framework for handling 
corps and army troops established, AGF 
turned its attention to removing what it 
considered fat from the special engineer 
units under its control. First to go was the 
light equipment platoon from the heavy 
ponton battalion. The AGF Reduction 
Board commented: "The light equipment 
was included in the battalion probably be- 
cause a certain amount of overhead already 
existed to care for it, but the net result was 
to increase the service personnel of the unit 
and to bog it down with considerable trans- 
portation used to carry equipment that 
could be kept in depots when not in use. The 
battalion should not be a roving depot, but 
a tactical unit able to construct a heavy 
bridge." 20 Under the T/O issued in July 
the strength of the heavy ponton battalion 
was reduced from 501 to 369 enlisted men. 
Despite the fact that another raft section 
was added to the light ponton company to 
compensate for rafts removed from the in- 
fantry division, the new T/O effected a 5.5 
percent cut in personnel without essential 
change of function. During the rest of the 
war ponton units operated with compara- 
tively little change in organization. 21 

In the water supply battalion AGF found 
still another unit to trim. McNair ques- 
tioned especially the necessity for the special 
tank truck. "Why cannot the water be de- 
livered in five-gallon cans, since it must be 
transferred to such cans sooner or later? 
. . . Why cannot this unit be made semi- 

mobile — that is the headquarters company 
be provided with a transportation section or 
platoon which would move the water supply 
companies as required? ... If delivery 
were by trucks and cans, these same vehicles 
could be used to move the units when neces- 
sary." 22 His deputy chief of staff, Col. James 
G. Christiansen, labeling the battalion a 
"fancy" unit, recommended that it be 
changed to a company with facilities for 
water purification and storage only. Water 
would be delivered in cans by trucks pro- 
vided by the army commander. Over the 
protests of Hughes and of OCE, Christian- 
sen's recommendations were carried out in 
August 1943. 23 

The Engineers admitted there was no 
need for the water supply battalion in thea- 
ters amply supplied with water but insisted 
that in areas where water was scarce and in 
semipermanent camps a definite need for 
bulk transportation existed. As proof of their 
contention they cited the usefulness of the 
battalion in North Africa and Italy as at- 
tested to by high-ranking officers. But re- 
peated efforts to restore transportation to 
the water supply company met with little 
encouragement until the 405th Water Sup- 
ply Battalion, which had served in both 
of these theaters, submitted a report in the 
summer of 1944 that impressed McNair. 
Six months later the distribution platoon, 

M (1) M/S, Reduction Bd AGF to CG AGF, 14 
Jan 43, sub: T/Os 5-275, 5-276, 5-277, 5-87. 
AGF file 321, Engrs, Pt. 4. 

31 (1) T/O 5-275, 9 Jul 43. (2) Memo, Hq 
AGF for ACofS G-3, 15 Apr 43, sub: T/O and 
T/E 5-87, Engr Light Ponton Co. AGF file 321, 
Engrs, Pt. 4. 

32 M/S, CG AGF to Rqmts AGF, 29 Jan 43, sub: 
Engr T/Os. AGF file 320.3, Engrs T/Os, Pt. 1. 

23 (1) M/S, DCofS AGF to CG AGF, 20 Jan 
43, sub: Engr T/Os. AGF file 320.3, Engrs T/Os, 
Pt. 1. (2) T/O 5-67, 4 Aug 43. (3) Wkly War Plan 
Conf, 26 Jun 44. 



equipped with tank trucks, was restored, but 
the unit remained a company. 24 

Supply and Maintenance U nits 

The consequences of the division of engi- 
neer units between AGF and ASF are no- 
where more strikingly illustrated than in the 
organization of supply and maintenance 
units. The park battalion, which had been 
provisionally organized in the prewar period 
to test the possibility of co-ordinating engi- 
neer supply and maintenance functions, 
never materialized. In its stead the Engi- 
neer Board had proposed an engineer main- 
tenance and supply regiment, but Fowler 
had joined Sturdevant in disapproving such 
a large unit and had advocated instead a 
headquarters and service company to han- 
dle supply and administration for small 
units. Fowler's idea seems to have been the 
genesis of the engineer depot group head- 
quarters and headquarters company, the 
T/O for which was formally submitted to 
ASF on 16 November 1942 and approved 
the following June for a complement of 1 1 
officers and 62 enlisted men. The Engineers 
expected to use this unit near a port of em- 
barkation or at a fixed base. As with the 
park battalion, they contemplated attaching 
depot, shop, equipment, and various other 
units to the new organization. 25 

The study of the maintenance and supply 
regiment led in still another direction. In 
the 1941 maneuvers it became evident that 
the Engineers would require a separate or- 
ganization to take care of spare parts. The 
Engineer Board stressed this fact in its re- 
port on the maintenance and supply regi- 
ment, and during the summer of 1942 OCE 
had taken up the proposition. Under 
Smith's direction a depot company was ex- 
perimentally organized into a parts supply 
company at the Columbus depot. On the 

basis of this experience the Engineers in 
November 1942 perfected a T/O for a parts 
supply company of 7 officers and 191 en- 
listed men which would function as part of 
a depot group. This ASF unit was designed 
to handle a stock of 100,000 to 300,000 
spare parts in first, second, third, and fourth 
echelon maintenance sets on all of which 
accurate records would have to be kept. 26 
When the T/O of the parts supply com- 
pany was referred to AGF for comment, 
Hughes expressed the view that "the parts 
supply company is an essential part of 
equipment maintenance. . . . Unlike many 
new tables, this has been built up by trial, 
and is believed to be about right for the 
purpose intended. There might be four or 
five such organizations in the world." 27 The 
official AGF view was entirely different. 

"(1) Conf cited 
for C of O&T Br, 

n. 23 

(3). (2) Memo, Equip Br 
19 Sep 43, sub: Water Sup Bn. 
Mob Br file, Water Sup Bn. (3) Cable, Gen Devers 
to WD, 18 Feb 44. Same file. (4) T/O 5-67, 3 Jan 

- 5 (1) Ann Rpt Engr Bd, 1942. (2) Engr Bd 
Rpt 677, 25 Jun 42, sub: Orgn of Engr Maint and 
Sup Regt. (3) Informal Ind, ACofEngrs for 
CofEngrs, 3 Aug 42, on Ltr, ExO Engr Bd to Cof- 
Engrs, 26 Jun 42, sub: Rpt on Proposed Engr Maint 
and Sup Regt. 400.34, SP 335, Pt. 1. (4) Memo, C 
of Sup Div for C of Trps Div, 8 Aug 42. 320.2. Engr 
Park Bn. (5) Ltr, C of O&T Br to Plans Div SOS, 
16 Nov 42, sub: T/O and T/E for Hq and Hq 
Co Engr Depot Group and Engr Parts Sup Co. Mob 
Br file, Engr Depot Group, Orgn of. (6) T/O 
5-592, 30 Jun 43. (7) Change 1, 31 Mar 44 to FM 
5-5, 11 Oct 43, pp. 26-29. (8) Ltr, C of O&T Br 
to CG USAF ETO, 8 Apr 43, sub: Engr Depot 
Group. 320.2 (C). 

M (1) Ltr, CO 463d Engr Co (Depot) to Smith, 
22 Oct 42, sub: T/O and T/BA for Spare Parts 
Sup Co. 320.2, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 16. (2) Ltr, 
C of O&T Br to Plans Div SOS, 16 Nov 42, sub: 
T/O and T/E for Hq and Hq Co Engr Depot 
Group and Engr Parts Sup Co. Mob Br file, Engr 
Depot Group, Orgn of. 

2, M/S, AGF Engr to Rqmts AGF, 5 Dec 42, 
sub: T/O 5— Engr Parts Sup Co. AGF file 320.3, 
Engrs T/Os, Pt. 1. Unless otherwise noted the 
remainder of this section is based upon corre- 
spondence in this file. 



Christiansen, though an Engineer himself, 
indulged in an acid comment which re- 
vealed the limitations of the single-minded 
AGF approach of concentrating upon com- 
bat units. 

In our present stage in which we are cut- 
ting down organizations, no reason is seen for 
approving such a unit. We would do this if we 
commented on the set-up without indicating 
that we can see no reason for the proposal. 

This is just another case of adding overhead 
to the SOS, however, it is probably none of 
our business to tell them that; that being a 
WD function. Therefore rather than com- 
ment on the small points of the proposed or- 
ganization, it is believed better to file the 
paper. 28 

In time, AGF would recognize the need for 
men specially trained to handle spare parts. 
Meanwhile, in April 1943, the War Depart- 
ment approved a company of 6 officers and 
176 enlisted men organized into warehouse, 
procurement, and headquarters platoons. 29 
Differences of opinion between Hughes 
and his colleagues in AGF headquarters 
also arose when it came to the organization 
of maintenance units under the control of 
AGF itself. In May 1943, after consulting 
the Engineer Board and the Maintenance 
Section, OCE, Hughes submitted a new 
T/O for the maintenance company which 
added personnel to distribute spare parts and 
trucks so that nearly all repairs could be 
made at the job site. Although the number 
of enlisted men was raised from 175 to 194, 
Hughes believed that an over-all saving of 
15 percent could be made by having two 
instead of three maintenance companies for 
every nine divisions. McNair grumbled that 
he did "wish that the Corps of Engineers 
would have a conscience in the matter of 
vehicles," but he went along with the T/O 
"largely because I know too little about the 
matter." 30 McNair had been led to abandon 

his opposition to increases in supply units 
by the illusory prospect, as it turned out, of 
having fewer total engineer maintenance 
troops. At this point major opposition to 
the T/O developed from G-4 of AGF who 
objected to a supposed duplication of fa- 
cilities by ordnance maintenance companies, 
to the concept of sending platoons off on 
independent operations, and to the fabrica- 
tion of parts on the site of the construction 
job. Suggesting that the G-4 concentrate 
on other matters "rather than hammer at 
this poor litde company," Hughes jumped 
to its defense : 

Last January, at his [G-4's] insistence, the 
general purpose shop truck was removed from 
the engineer battalion. In other words, the 
organic means of fabricating local materials 
for construction was taken away from the 
combat elements on the theory that it would 
be more efficiently massed in the maintenance 
organizations. Now it is insisted that the use 
of maintenance equipment to augment con- 
struction ... is not permissible, as mainte- 
nance will suffer thereby. . . . 

There is a steadfast refusal to understand 
jobsite maintenance and the necessity to dis- 
perse engineers to work. . . . Combat troops 
employed massed and with rapid movement 
cover wide terrain through which we must 
keep communications open clear back into the 
army area, regardless of the space covered or 
the damage done. . . . All construction ex- 
perience has indicated that the only econom- 
ical way to repair heavy plant is to bring the 
shop and spare parts to the plant. . . . The 
only real existing difficulty with the company 
in the field is that it lacks the means of han- 
dling spare parts, . . . which the new table 
provides for. Our maintenance in the field is 

28 M/S, DCofS AGF to Rqmts AGF 18 Dec 42, 
sub: T/O 5— Engr Parts Sup Co. AGF file 320.3, 
EngrsT/Os, Pt. 1. 

*' T/O 5-247, 23 Apr 43. 

30 (1) M/S, CG AGF to Reduction Bd, 14 Jun 
43, sub: T/O Engr Maint Co. AGF file 320.3, Engrs 
T/Os, Pt. 1. (2) M/S, CG AGF to Rqmts AGF, 
5 Jul 43, same sub. Same file. 



suffering badly from this deficiency and the 
blocking we receive from G— 4, AGF in organ- 
izing both the Equipment and Maintenance 
Companies is having a detrimental and seri- 
ous effect on engineer field operations. 31 

Hughes was right; the Engineers were sorely 
deficient in maintenance troops. In Sep- 
tember, despite continued objections from 
its G-4, AGF began to process the T/O. 
In December 1943 it was approved. 32 

An interesting feature of the War De- 
partment's attempt to divide primary re- 
sponsibility for service units between AGF 
and ASF was the complexity it added to the 
Army's structure. In place of one equipment 
company and one depot company the Army 
ended up with two of each. Hughes per- 
suaded McNair that a new unit was neces- 
sary to supply divisional combat battalions 
with extra construction machinery. In Janu- 
ary 1943 AGF began working on a T/O for 
the unit and six months later received au- 
thority to organize a light equipment com- 
pany. For ASF the Engineers developed the 
base equipment company to supply opera- 
tors for heavier and more specialized ma- 
chinery withdrawn from depots. In the 
spring of 1943, shortly after AGF became 
responsible for depot companies, OCE sub- 
mitted a T/O for a base depot company. 
As first set up the company could not be 
readily broken down into smaller units 
needed for assignment to the many depots in 
Britain, but in May 1944 changes were 
made which corrected this defect. In Oc- 
tober 1943, meanwhile, the old depot com- 
pany had been expanded to include a parts 
supply platoon. Thus after several unhappy 
months of trying to handle spare parts with 
men who had no knowledge of the work, 
AGF had tempered its former hostile atti- 
tude toward a special unit, although it still 
denied the need for an organization as large 
as a company. 33 

Changes in ASF Units 

Perhaps the most significant difference 
between the AGF and ASF approach to the 
organization of troops was that there was 
no central core or body of doctrine to which 
ASF units could be tied. AGF had a theory 
of tactics based on the structure of the divi- 
sion, corps, and army. ASF units had a host 
of miscellaneous and sometimes unrelated 
jobs to perform. The main one for the En- 
gineers was construction, but growing out 
of this general mission was a variety of 
other tasks which required specialized per- 
sonnel and equipment in specialized organi- 
zations such as the petroleum distribution 
company, the port construction and re- 
pair group, forestry companies, base equip- 
ment companies, base depot companies, and 
heavy shop companies. 

The many-sidedness of the ASF engineers' 
job can best be seen in the development of 
T/O 5-500. Before Pearl Harbor, mainte- 
nance of searchlights was the only engineer 
task which called for a small independent 
unit. Shortly after the outbreak of war a 
demand developed for sundry others. Re- 
quests for utilities personnel came in from 
the Caribbean, Iceland, and the Middle East 
where the Engineers were expected to take 
over the operation of utilities plants from 
civilians and from Quartermaster units. The 
first contingents were organized according 

31 M/S, AGF Engr to Rqmts AGF, 17 Aug 43, 
sub: T/E 5-157, Engr Maint Co. AGF file 320.3, 
EngrsT/Os, Pt. 1. 

32 T/O &E 5-157, 18 Dec 43. See below, pp. 
1 5 70-7 1.| 

" (1 : Ltr, Hughes to C of Mil Hist, 14 Jan 54. 
(2) T/O 5-367, 22 Jul 43. (3) T/O 5-377, 8 
Aug 43. (4) Change 1, 31 Mar 44, to FM 5-5, 11 
Oct 43, pp. 7-8, 19-23. (5) T/O 5-267, 20 Apr 
43. (6) Personal Ltr, Col Howard V. Canan, Office 
of C Engr SOS ETO, to Gorlinski, 29 Jun 43. 
O&T Br file, Personal Ltrs to Gorlinski. ( 7 ) T/O 
5-267, 30 May 44. (8) T/O 5-47, 29 Oct 43. 



to the demands for each particular job, but 
in April 1943 the War Department pub- 
lished a T/O for utilities detachments for 
establishments varying in size from 1,000 
to 4,000 men. Meanwhile, in June 1942 the 
Engineers were asked to form gas generating 
units to operate and maintain plants pro- 
ducing, oxygen, acetylene, and nitrogen. A 
month later OPD authorized the Engineers 
to activate fire fighting detachments. When 
the water supply battalion was converted to 
a company, its well drilling section was left 
to ASF. 34 

With this increasing diversity in tasks re- 
quiring small teams or detachments the W ar 
Department decided late in the spring of 
1943 to organize "flexible 'cell type' T/O's 
. . . within which teams or units of skilled 
specialists can be provided — in varying 
strengths — to satisfy special require- 
ments." 35 Col. Herbert B. Loper, wartime 
chief of OCE's Intelligence Branch, was 
eager to see the innovation applied to topo- 
graphic units. "We have concluded here," 
he wrote the Chief Engineer of the South- 
west Pacific Area in July 1943, "that the 
. . . battalions seldom meet actual thea- 
ter requirements. Accordingly, we have 
devised a number of typical reinforcements 
on the cellular basis, and have submitted 
Tables for W.D. approval. Further, we have 
submitted our recommendation to the effect 
that the major part of the topo troop aug- 
mentation to correspond with the new troop 
basis shall be made up of these independent 
reinforcing units, rather than of complete 
battalions." 36 

T/O 5-500, published in July 1943, car- 
ried columns labeled platoon headquarters, 
battalion headquarters, mess team, supply 
team, map depot detachment, utilities de- 
tachment, fire fighting section, well drilling 
section, mobile searchlight maintenance 

section, dump truck section, and others. In 
a few cases there were several different 
teams of the same type. If a theater had 
requirements which standard engineer or- 
ganizations could not fill because they were 
either too large or too small or because they 
lacked the specialists and equipment, the 
theater commander could use these cellular 
units to form platoons, companies, or bat- 
talions, using whatever combinations he 
deemed necessary either to supplement a 
standard organization or to form a service 
unit for a base installation. The cellular idea 
caught on quickly. The 26 July 1944 re- 
vision of T/ O 5-500 was divided into eight 
categories — administrative, supply, water 
supply and transportation, maintenance 
and special equipment, utilities, fire fight- 
ing, topographic, and marine. The pub- 
lished document was seventy-eight pages 
long and — most remarkable of all — con- 
tained an index. 37 

Akin to the cellular idea was the group 
concept which AGF had applied to the en- 

31 (1) Memo, C of O&T Br for Opn Div SOS, 
24 Apr 42, sub: Searchlight Maint Dets. 320.2, 
Engrs Corps of, Pt. 15. (2) Memo, O&T Br for 
Constr Div, 14 Apr 42, sub: Utilities and Maint 
Dets, Island Bases. Same file. (3) T/O 5-283, 23 
Apr 43. (4) 1st Ind, ExO Opns Div SOS to 
CofEngrs, 27 Jun 42, on Ltr, Dev Br to CG SOS, 
17 Jun 42, sub: Opn of Gas Generating Equip. 
Mech Equip Br file, Gases. (5) Ltr, AC of O&T 
Br to CG SOS, 8 Aug 42, sub: Activation of Engr 
Fire Fighting Dets. 320.2, Engrs Corps of (S). (6) 
Memo for Record, with Memo, Hq AGF for CG 
ASF, 7 Aug 43, sub: Separate Well Drilling Cos. 
AGF file 320.3, Engr T/Os, Pt. 1. 

30 Memo for Record, on D/F, Exec G-l WDGS 
to G-4 WDGS, 8 Jul 43, sub: T/O for Engr Constr 
Regts. ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr 
Group (S). 

36 ( 1 ) Personal Ltr, C of Intel Br to Brig Gen 
Hugh J. Case y, Hq SWPA , 4 Jul 43. 061.01 (C). 
(2) See below, [pp~45 4-55.| 

" (1) T/O 5-500, 31 Jul 43. (2) Change 1, 31 
Mar 44, to FM 5-5, 11 Oct 43, p. 37. (3) T/O&E 
5-500, 26 Jul 44. 



gineers in the combat zone. The War De- 
partment tried to apply this principle to 
ASF engineers as well. As outlined above, 
the Engineers had themselves proposed a 
depot group headquarters to which various 
companies might be attached, but most of 
the demand for group organization came 
from higher echelons and was resisted by 
the Engineers. The War Department in- 
sisted on its use in the case of port recon- 
struction and repair. 38 

Still more irritating to the Engineers was 
the attempt to organize general construction 
units on a group basis. It will be recalled 
that the War Department had agreed to 
begin conversion of separate battalions to 
general service regiments in January 1943 
and that the general service regiment be- 
came solely an Army Service Forces unit. 39 
Shortly thereafter, on the 12th of that 
month, the War Department directed 
ASF to review all T/O's with the group con- 
cept in mind and suggested that general 
service regiments might be reorganized as 
battalions. A week later the War Depart- 
ment directed ASF not to convert separate 
battalions to general service regiments but 
to consider retaining them as labor units or 
organizing them as general service bat- 
talions. Sturdevant objected to the retention 
of labor units in the face of demands from 
the theaters for highly skilled troops 
equipped with construction machinery and 
argued that the Quartermaster Corps and 
the Transportation Corps were the proper 
sources of laborers at depots and ports. He 
further questioned whether the substitution 
of the group organization for the general 
service regiment would save manpower or 
be as efficient as was claimed. ASF sup- 
ported the Engineers in opposition to labor 
units but directed more study of the bat- 
talion-group organization. 40 

In March OCE submitted T/O's for both 
a battalion-group setup and a general serv- 
ice regiment with 145 fewer men. Over 
Sturdevant's continuing objections ASF 
decided that the service group would super- 
sede the general service regiment. On 1 May 
Sturdevant asked for a reconsideration and 
launched an all-out assault on the battalion- 
group idea. Let ASF cite an example to 
prove the battalion-group adopted by AGF 
was superior to the regimental organization, 
he challenged. Granted it might be suitable 
for the control of small units such as equip- 
ment, maintenance, and depot companies, 
where was the desired saving in overhead? 
He pointed out that the group commander 
seemed to duplicate the functions of the 
corps commander who had to rely on the 
group for all his information. ASF was fool- 
ing itself : "The gain in flexibility resulting 
from the formation of Corps Combat Bat- 
talions is believed more theoretical than 
real since, if additional battalions are to be 
attached to divisions, they could be detached 
from a regiment as well as a Group." If 
attachment was normal then the divisional 
engineer element was too small. "On the 
whole the present Ground Force organiza- 
tion is considered cumbersome, wasteful 
and probably unworkable. It is anticipated 
that it will not be retained by Theaters in- 
volved in combat," Sturdevant went on. 
Grouping might conceivably work in the 
combat zone where there would be little 

m For a discussion of the port co nstruction and 
repair group, see below , | Ch. XVII. | 
30 See above. [p7T?0l 

10 Unless otherwise noted the remainder of this 
section is based upon correspondence in (1) 322, 
Engrs Corps of (S) : (2) Mob Br file, Engr Gen Sv 
Regts (S); (3) Mob Br file, T/O&E, Engr Constr 
Group (S) ; (4) Mob Br file, Engr Constr Bn (C) ; 
and (5) ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr 
Group (S). 



construction anyway. But the group-bat- 
talion system had no place in the communi- 
cations zone where large-scale construction 
projects were the rule and changes in loca- 
tion infrequent. 41 

A few days after receiving Sturdevant's 
communication ASF changed its mind. 
After all, a reduction of 145 men in the 
general service regiment would satisfy the 
demand for economy even better than the 
group-battalion. AGF did not give in so 
easily. Although conceding that the regi- 
mental organization was generally accept- 
able for operations in the communications 
zone, AGF pointed out that some of these 
units might have to move into the combat 
zone. It would be better therefore to have 
the regiments broken up into independent 
battalions, paralleling the organization of 
the engineer combat battalions with which 
they would work. Both types of units would 
operate best under a flexible grouping. The 
large number of engineer units required by 
the modern army might lead to the organi- 
zation of brigades to command engineer 
groups, AGF held, but it would be ridicu- 
lous to provide a brigade setup for two or 
three regiments. AGF's arguments failed to 
convince the General Staff. The general 
service regiment was retained. 

To complicate the situation, early in 1943 
the Engineers became alarmed over the 
Navy's aggressive policy of recruiting skilled 
men for numerous construction battalions, 
commonly known as Seabees. The Corps of 
Engineers was sufficiently practical to real- 
ize that the best way to prevent the Navy 
from encroaching upon engineer construc- 
tion functions was to be prepared to do as 
much work as possible. Early in 1943 Rey- 
bold asked that a total of thirty additional 
construction units be activated that year and 
that he be authorized to recruit experienced 

construction men to fill them. ASF refused 
to authorize additional units at that time 
but in March the Joint Army and Navy 
Personnel Board permitted the Engineers 
to begin recruiting 9,000 construction 
workers a month. The Navy was allowed a 
similar quota. 42 

Still, the Engineers found themselves at a 
disadvantage because the Seabee units con- 
tained higher grades and ratings than those 
in Army engineer units. In an effort to es- 
tablish themselves on an equal plane with 
the Navy the Engineers sought permission 
to organize a construction regiment contain- 
ing higher ratings. This unit would replace 
the special service regiment and the white 
general service regiment. The Negro general 
service regiment was to be retained for re- 
inforcing construction regiments on heavy 
routine jobs such as roads or airfields. The 
construction regiment was to be used on 
more complicated jobs. 

With this seemingly mild proposal, the 
Engineers had in fact stirred up a hornet's 
nest. The Operations Division, General 
Staff, questioned the need for such a unit, 
much less the need for one with such attrac- 
tive ratings. The general service regiments 
were doing a good job overseas. Under the 
new joint procedure for procurement of per- 
sonnel the Army was receiving from four to 
five thousand skilled workers a month and 
the Engineers should have no trouble getting 
their share. Noting that nearly all engineer 
units contained some skilled construction 

41 Memo, ACofEngrs for CG ASF, 1 May 43, sub: 
T/Os for Engr Gen Sv Units. Mob Br file, Engr 
Gen Sv Regts (S). 

"(1) Memo, OCE (unsigned) for CofEngrs, 
15 Jan 43, sub: Navy Constr Bns. Mob Br file, 
Constr Regts (S). (2) Ltr, ACofEngrs (McGoach) 
to Div Engr Great Lakes Div, 15 Mar 43, sub: 
Voluntary Induction of Enl Specs. 341, Engrs Corps 
of, Pt. 1. 



men, OPD balked at singling out one unit 
for higher ratings. The initial reaction to 
such a step would be a lowering of morale 
followed, in all probability, by efforts to 
transfer to the unit with higher ratings. The 
ultimate result would be an upward revision 
of all ratings. 43 

At the beginning of July representatives 
of OPD, G-l, G-3, and G-4 decided to 
defer approval of the construction regiment 
pending consideration of a flexible cell-type 
unit. G— 3 passed this suggestion on to ASF 
in the form of a directive to include in T/O 
5-500 "a section or sections of specialized 
construction personnel . . . capable of or- 
ganization into small groupments or com- 
panies to work with General Service Regi- 
ments or other units which are primarily 
labor." 44 

The General Staff's solution found little 
favor with either ASF or the Corps of En- 
gineers. Brig. Gen. Frank A. Heileman, 
Deputy Director of Operations, ASF, and 
formerly an Engineer officer, was convinced 
of the need for a unit composed of men ex- 
perienced in construction. "It appears to 
me," he commented in July 1943, "that the 
plan of the Chief of Engineers to differenti- 
ate between a highly trained white regiment, 
whether it be called a special regiment or a 
construction regiment, and a lesser trained 
colored regiment which might be called a 
general service regiment, is a more efficient 
setup than the proposed cellular organiza- 
tion." Just because composite organizations 
had worked well for small units and installa- 
tions was no reason to apply the principle 
universally. 15 OCE prepared a T/O for a 
construction specialist company in con- 
formity with the desires of the General Staff, 
Reybold at the same time entering a vigor- 
ous dissent. The construction regiment de- 
sired by the Engineers, he wrote, was not a 
special purpose unit but a means of inducing 

better qualified personnel to enlist. The con- 
struction company slated for inclusion in 
T/O 5-500 added 205 officers and men to 
the basic strength of a regiment. There was 
no way to tell how many such companies 
would be needed. The patience of the Chief 
of Engineers was well-nigh exhausted : 

It is the view of this office that all regiments 
require the skills provided. A contrary view 
assumes that regiments not so reinforced are 
classified as "units which are primarily labor." 
. . . This misconception is apparently the 
basis of the current proposal and is not shared 
by . . . any , . . responsible commander en- 
gaged in active operations so far as known to 
this office. Although General Service Regi- 
ments have been used as stevedores and for 
similar labor jobs in emergency, they are not 
set up for such purposes. . . . Speed of con- 
struction requires the use of machinery al- 
most to the exclusion of common labor 
equipped with hand tools. The demand from 
theaters is for more and heavier equipment 
and a larger proportion of skilled construc- 
tion men for three shift operation by every 

The Engineers held that men in a specialist 
company should be a permanent part of a 
construction unit in order to give the com- 
mander a better knowledge of their abilities, 
to insure teamwork, and to avoid the low- 
ered morale that would result from dis- 
crepancies in ratings. The specialist com- 
pany could not be a balanced organization 
since it was a special group. 46 

43 D/F, Trp Sec Logistics Group OPD WDGS to 
G-l, G-3, G-4, 30 Jun 43, sub: T/Os for Engr 
Constr Regt. ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr 
Constr Group ( S ) . 

14 Memo, WDGCT 320.2 (20 Jul 43) ACofS 
G-3 for CG ASF, 20 Jul 43, sub: T/Os for Engr 
Constr Regt. ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr 
Constr Group (S). 

45 Memo, Heileman for Lutes, 23 Jul 43. ASF 
Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr Group (S). 

10 1st Ind, CofEngrs to CG ASF, 14 Aug 43, on 
Memo, Dir of Opus ASF for CofEngrs, 28 Jul 43, 
sub: T/Os for Engr Constr Regts. ASF Mob Div 
file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr Group (S). 



Shortly after receipt of this communica- 
tion, ASF decided to take matters into its 
own hands. Up to now, so it seemed to Maj. 
Maurice L. Hiller, head of the T/ O Section 
of the Troop Units Branch, "the type, size, 
structural organization and need for highly- 
specialized Engineer units has been 'buck 
passed' back and' forth between the Chief 
of Engineers and the Secretary of War, with 
the Commanding General, Army Service 
Forces acting as intermediary." "The re- 
sult," according to Hiller, "is that today we 
are saddled with an Engineer General Serv- 
ice Regiment that does not have sufficiently 
high grades to perform its functions; a table 
of organization for an Engineer Port Con- 
struction and Repair Group, and a proposed 
Engineer Construction Specialist Company 
. . . which we have been directed to pre- 
pare to replace the proposed Engineer Con- 
struction Regiment." These did not, to be 
sure, exhaust the list of construction units. 
Separate battalions under the control of 
ASF and engineer aviation battalions under 
the control of AAF brought the types of 
construction units to five. Hiller was con- 
vinced he had a solution — so convinced in 
fact that he, an Engineer officer, was "will- 
ing to stake both my professional and mili- 
tary reputation" on it, even though it ran 
counter to the opinion of the Chief of Engi- 
neers. Hiller proposed that the five construc- 
tion units be replaced by an engineer con- 
struction group and a separate engineer 
construction battalion. The group would 
operate much like the offices of District En- 
gineers in the United States. It would be 
made up of planners and supervisors, and, 
in case a definite need existed, of divers and 
ship salvage crews for port reconstruction. 
The construction battalion would be mod- 
eled on the Seabees.* 7 

Perhaps the most ingenious aspect of 

Hiller's plan was to wrap up engineer avia- 
tion units in the same package with those 
construction troops that had given rise to 
the original discussion. That ASF should 
have control of construction units in the 
AAF had been maintained in ASF head- 
quarters for some time. In the Southwest 
Pacific theater where construction projects 
threatened to outrun the total supply of 
engineer troops, it had been found neces- 
sary to pool all available manpower. In Feb- 
ruary 1943 Mac Arthur's headquarters de- 
nied the Fifth Air Force control of engineer 
aviation battalions. The theater SOS was 
made responsible for the disposition of all 
construction forces on projects in the com- 
munications zone. In combat areas, the task 
force commander had control until condi- 
tions became stabilized when control would 
pass to SOS. In the European Theater of 
Operations, the SOS had succeeded in the 
summer of 1942 in borrowing engineer 
aviation battalions for the construction of 
airfields in the United Kingdom. The agree- 
ment was that they be returned to AAF for 
a period of training prior to the invasion of 
the Continent and remain under AAF con- 
trol thereafter. In North Africa, which was 
from the outset a "combat" theater, engi- 
neer aviation units remained under the con- 
trol of AAF. Even here, however, the SOS 
displayed dissatisfaction with this arrange- 
ment. When General Styer visited the Med- 
iterranean and European theaters in the 
summer of 1943 he looked into the matter 
and found the commanding generals of the 
SOS as well as the Chief Engineer, ETO, 
in agreement with him that general service 
regiments should replace aviation bat- 

" Memo, Head T/O Sec Trp Units Br ASF for 
Col Dissinger, 18 Aug 43, sub: Engr Constr Units. 
ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr Group 




talions. The ETO was also suffering from a 
shortage of construction workers. Only 
fifteen general service regiments — half the 
number asked for — were slated to arrive in 
the theater by the end of August 1943. In 
June the Chief Engineer, ETO, had asked 
for as many combat regiments and aviation 
battalions as he could get. Putting all con- 
struction troops into one organization would 
render the manpower more accessible. 48 
"General Service Regiments can do every- 
thing that Aviation Engineers can do, and 
perhaps a great deal more," Styer wrote 
Somervell from abroad. "General Service 
Regiments can be attached to the Air Forces 
whenever necessary, but it is a mistake to 
make them part of the Air Forces." 49 

ASF's view that general service regiments 
under ASF control should replace aviation 
battalions was shared by OCE but en- 
countered stiff opposition from the AAF 
which insisted that only Air Forces control 
would permit first priority to be given Air 
Forces tasks. But Hiller's plan in respect to 
aviation battalions appealed to ASF and 
this together with the rest of his proposal 
plus a recommendation to convert the base 
equipment company to a cellular type of 
unit went up to the General Staff in 
September. 50 

The road up through the channels for 
comment was easier than the road down. 
While everyone found some merit in the 
plan, everyone found some aspects of it 
extremely distasteful. Army Ground Forces 
applauded the basic idea of reorganizing 
construction units into a group-battalion 
system, but frowned upon the application of 
the cellular idea to construction units. The 
policy was to reduce the types of units; the 
cellular organization made for infinite va- 
riety. In any case, AGF thought it "desir- 
able in considering subjects of this nature 

to have available the professional views of 
the responsible technical agency, in this 
case, the Chief of Engineers." 51 Army Air 
Forces echoed AGF views on cellular or- 
ganization as well as on the failure to con- 
sult the Chief of Engineers, and called 
attention to the lack of supporting evidence 
from the theaters. Most of all, AAF was 
adamant about retaining engineer aviation 
units. Aviation engineers had been shaped 
for the particular needs of the Air Forces 
and the magnitude of airdrome construc- 
tion justified the existence of special units 
under its control, the AAF maintained. This 
opposition from AAF and AGF led the 
General Staff to approve only the replace- 
ment of general service regiments, special 
service regiments, and separate battalions by 

18 ( 1 ) Office of the Chief Engineer, General 
Headquarters, Army Forces, Pacific, Engineers of the 
Southwest Pacific 1941-1945, Vol. II, Organiza- 
tions, Troops and Training (Washington, 1953), 
pp. 95-96. (2) Administrative and Logistical 
History of the ETO, Pt. II, Organization and 
Command in the ETO, Vol. I, MS, Hist Div U.S. 
Forces ETO, March 1946, pp. 39-40, 126-27. 
OCMH. (3) 1st Lt. Lloyd F. Latendresse, CE, 
Comd Historian IX Engr Comd, History of 
IX Engineer Command (Wiesbaden, Germany, 
1945), pp. 15-16. (4) Hq, AAF Engr Comd MTO 
(Prov), A History of Policies Affecting Aviation 
Engineers in the Mediterranean Campaigns (multi- 
lithed, 2d interim ed. [c. Jan 45]), pp. 2-3. Army 
Map Service files. (5) Memo, C Engr ETO for 
Col E. P. Lock, 26 Jun 43, sub; Availability of 
Engr Units for U. K. O&T Br file, Personal Ltrs 
to Gorlinski. 

49 Quoted in Memo, ACofS ASF for CofEngrs, 
21 Jul 43. 322, Engrs Corps of (S). 

" (1) Ltr, Godfrey to Styer, 19 Apr 43. MTO 
Comd— Engr 638.129, Jan-Jun 43, 900.3. (2) 
Memo, Air Engr for CG AAF, 13 Oct 43, sub: 
Control of Avn Engr Trps in TofOpns. AAF file, 
321-C, Engr Corps (S). (3) Personal Ltr, Air Engr 
AAF to Godfrey, Air Engr Air Sv Comd Hq CBI, 
7 Aug 44. AAF file, 321-F, Engr Corps (S). 

51 Memo, Hq AGF for CofS, 14 Oct 43, sub: 
T/Os for Engr Gen Sv Units (Engr Constr Activi- 
ties). ASF Mob Div file, T/O&E 5, Engr Constr 
Group (S). 



the construction group and battalion. The 
General Staff also agreed to place such 
teams as marine divers in composite units 
but did not rescind the port construction 
and repair group. 

In line with ASF's suggestion to keep the 
Seabees in mind when drawing up a table 
for the construction battalion, the Engi- 
neers provided higher grades and ratings for 
foremen and equipment operators, in- 
creased the amount and size of power ma- 
chinery, and added sufficient personnel to 
provide for two-shift operation. As finally 
approved, the table of organization called 
for 29 officers, 2 warrant officers, and 913 
enlisted men. 02 

In January 1944 ASF prepared a memo- 
randum which informed the theaters that 
the construction battalion was comparable 
to the engineer aviation battalion in earth- 
moving capacity and to the Seabees in 
equipment and grades for skilled personnel. 
General service regiments, separate bat- 
talions, and special service regiments were to 
be converted to construction battalions on 
a one-to-one ratio. In a most caustic letter, 
delivered in person to ASF headquarters, 
Robins, acting for Reybold, challenged 
what he termed "several incorrect or incon- 
sistent statements" contained in the memo- 
randum : 

"The battalion is comparable ... to the 
Navy Sea Bee battalion in . . . grades for 
skilled personnel." The construction battalion 
cannot be considered comparable in that re- 
spect .... The directive to this office re- 
quiring preparation of tables contained the 
statement that it was desired that grades be 
comparable, but, in fact, the table submitted 
carried fewer high grades and final changes 
by War Department General Staff involved 
substantial cuts. The statement is in gross 

The proposal to substitute one construction 
battalion for one general service regiment is 

based on no known recommendation of this 
office. Informal recommendation was made 
for a conversion ratio of one group of three 
battalions to two regiments. This would 
practically absorb all personnel. 

The idea expressed . . . that excess per- 
sonnel will be available as a result of this con- 
version shows complete ignorance of the con- 
ditions now existing in the theaters. Almost 
without exception engineer general service 
units . . . are using equipment from depot 
stocks (Class IV) in amounts at least com- 
parable with that included in the new organi- 
zation. These new tables, in effect, merely 
establish higher grades and ratings for men 
now doing the work under inadequate ratings, 
and authorize, in equipment tables, items now 
drawn from depot stocks on loan. The idea 
that the adoption of this unit will increase the 
capabilities of engineer personnel in active 
theaters is fallacious. 

Many General Service Regiments, rein- 
forced with additional heavy equipment, have 
made notable construction records and are 
considered equivalent or superior to Navy 
Construction Battalions for Army work and 
superior to Aviation Battalions in production 
capacity. These regiments will not relish a 
formal statement by the War Department that 
they are to be reorganized to bring them up to 
the standard of their competitors. . . . The 
importance of unit esprit and morale should 
be recognized and fostered. The necessity for 
this invidious comparison is not apparent. 

General Service Regiments with authorized 
equipment only are definitely inferior to CB's 
in construction capacity and theater experi- 
ence has shown that the prescribed equipment 
of General Service Regiments is inadequate 
for earth moving and some other jobs. This 
has been recognized by this office for two years 
but efforts to improve the situation have fre- 
quently met with War Department disap- 
proval. In particular, this office some months 
ago proposed a Construction Regiment com- 
parable in equipment to the recently approved 

: '- ( 1 ) Memo, Dir Mob Div ASF for CofEngrs, 3 
Nov 43. sub: T/O&Es for Engr Constr Units. 
O&T Br file, Personal Ltrs to Gorlinski. (2) T/O&E 
5-75, 23 Dec 43. 



Construction Group and much more nearly 
approaching the CB standard in grades and 
ratings. This proposal was quickly disap- 
proved but is now approved, in general, under 
another name apparently on the basis that it 
would conserve personnel. 

This matter emphasizes again that little at- 
tention is paid by higher echelons to the ad- 
vice of the agency best prepared to advise on 
engineer matters: the Chief of Engineers. It 
is believed that utilization of such advice will 
contribute to the war effort. 53 

Backing up their arguments with facts 
and figures the Engineers pointed out that 
in the 913-man construction battalion only 
232 men were grade four (sergeant) or 
better; in the Seabee battalion of 1,081 
men, 741 were equal to grade four or better. 
Conversion on a one-to-one ratio, explained 
Sturdevant in a follow-up memorandum, 
would cut construction troops in theaters by 
one third when the percentage of engineers 
in the troop basis was already too small and 
had recently been further reduced by the 
inactivation of a number of aviation bat- 
talions. There was no necessity to require the 
formation of group headquarters and head- 
quarters companies in the communications 
zone because in most cases adequate admin- 
istrative staffs already existed in base, inter- 
mediate, and advance sections. Groups 
should be organized only upon request of 
the theater. The Engineers' protest achieved 
immediate and favorable results. ASF's con- 
troversial memorandum was withdrawn and 
conversion to new units arranged for on a 
man-to-man basis. 

Meanwhile a new aspect of the problem 
had arisen. In June 1943 the Engineers had 
resisted a proposal to convert white general 
service regiments to Negro. Although the 
Army as a whole contained approximately 
8.6 percent Negro troops the Engineers had 
19.3 percent. In their effort to secure tech- 
nical specialists by voluntary induction the 

Engineers had been unable to secure even 
10 percent who were Negroes. As a result 
ASF had agreed to amend the troop basis to 
include an augmentation of six white gen- 
eral service regiments so that volunteer 
white specialists could be absorbed. The 
revised troop basis was to provide for a 
total of 87 regiments, 44 to be white and 43 
to be Negro. 

Following the decision to do away with 
the general service regiment, 32 construction 
battalions — 6 white and 26 Negro — were 
projected in the 1944 troop basis. The En- 
gineers in March declared themselves power- 
less to fill so many construction battalions 
with Negroes. They cited a number of argu- 
ments, Because the background of Negro 
soldiers currently being inducted was 
mainly agricultural they were not qualified 
to operate all the mechanical equipment. 
Negroes, it was stated, lacked the sense of 
responsibility necessary for the care of this 
equipment. The majority of Negro soldiers 
were in AGCT Classes IV and V. Great 
numbers were poorly qualified physically, 
and with their lack of interest and leader- 
ship were making "very undependable 
soldiers." Since they proved slow to absorb 
instruction, their training had to be length- 
ened from 1 7 to 27 weeks. The Engineers 
recommended the troop basis be changed to 
20 white units and 1 2 Negro units. To avoid 
charges of discrimination, two of the twelve 
Negro units were to be construction bat- 
talions, the rest general service regiments.'' 4 

Having received ASF's assent to the 
broad outlines of this plan and having 
learned that the Central Pacific theater 

Memo, Actg CofEngrs for CG ASF, 20 Jan 44, 
sub: Memo W220-44, 320.3, Engr Constr Units. 

Ltr, DCofEngrs for CG ASF, 15 Mar 44, sub: 
Activation of Engr Constr Bns. Mob Br file, Engr 
Constr Bns (C). 



wanted battalions, not regiments, OCE sub- 
mitted tables for a three-battalion general 
service regiment consisting of 87 officers and 
1,710 enlisted men and a general service 
battalion of 41 officers and 801 enlisted 
men. These units were especially designed 
for Negro personnel who fell into Classes 
IV and V on the AGCT tests, but the En- 
gineers did not consider them labor units. 
They still had more construction machinery 
and higher grades and ratings than the old 
general service regiment. 55 

For all the extensive and prolonged dis- 
cussion over the organization of ASF con- 
struction units, the desired simplification 
was not achieved. In addition to distinctions 
arising from the differentiation of Negro 
and white units, the freedom given to over- 
seas commanders in forming and adminis- 
tering their commands helped to defeat the 
program of organizational experts in the 
United States. The ETO requested per- 
mission to retain the old organization of 
construction units and the War Department 
acquiesced. As of 30 June 1945 the follow- 
ing ASF construction units were active : 5C 

Units Total White Negro 

Total 337 92 174 

General service regiments .... 79 29 50 

Special service regiments 5 5 

Construction battalions 36 33 3 

General service battalions .... 8 2 6 

Separate battalions 3 3 

Dump truck companies 135 23 112 

Petroleum distribution com- 
panies 59 (") (") 

Port construction and repair 

groups 12 (") (») 

a Not available. 

Distribution of Engineer Troops 

The most notable feature of the reorgani- 
zation of engineer troops that followed the 

outbreak of war was its concentration upon 
construction, supply, and maintenance 
units. In part this situation resulted from 
the prewar Army's preoccupation with the 
structure and tactics of its fighting elements. 
But the shift in emphasis resulted equally as 
much from the added importance of logis- 
tics in global warfare. The Army could not 
concentrate as many men in divisional units 
as it had originally intended. 

It became necessary to expand the pro- 
portion of service troops because of the 
Army's motorization and mechanization, its 
reliance on air power, and its use of power 
machinery — all of which required extensive 
maintenance and supply operations. More 
important for the Corps of Engineers was 
the fact that the United States fought with 
greatly extended lines of communication at 
the ends of which facilities had to be built 
in order that men and materiel could be 
massed preparatory to battle. In June 1945 
approximately 40 percent of the Engineer 
officers and enlisted men mobilized in troop 
units were serving with AGF, another 40 
percent with ASF, and the rem aining 20 
percent with AAF. I (Table 10) \ 

The distinctions between AGF, ASF, and 
AAF engineers more or less broke down in 
the theaters. Whatever troops were available 
were used for the work to be done. It seemed 
to the Engineers, as it probably did to all 
arms and services, that they needed more 
men. In terms of function, front-line en- 
gineers had to clear and construct obstacles, 
lay mine fields, ferry troops in river cross- 
ings, build bridges and, as the necessity 
arose, act as infantry. Those in the rear 
were more concerned with building shelters, 
roads, ports, or airfields and with perform- 

K Wkly War Plan Conf, 4 Sep 44. 
50 Info from Office of the Comptroller of the 



Table 10 — Number, and Strength of Engineer 

30 June 1945° 

TabEe of Organization Units: 

Type of Unit 


Ground Force type — total 

Divisional — Total 

Infantry division combat battal- 

Mountain division combat battal- 

Cavalry division engineer squad- 

Armored division engineer battal- 

Airborne division engineer battal- 


Combat battalions 

Heavy ponton battalions 

Combat companies (separate) 

Depot companies 

Light equipment companies 

Light ponton companies - 

Maintenance companies 

Treadway bridge companies 

Other engineer ground force type 

XT 1. 

rsl umber 



596, 567 


253, 966 


» 56, 357 








1 10, 784 


* 2, 050 


197, 609 





127, 270 
1, 129 

10, 599 
4, 567 
9, 027 

4, 446 

19, 585 

Type of Unit 

Service Force type total 

Port construction and repair head- 
quarters companies. 

Special brigades 

General service regiments 

Special service regiments 

Construction battalions 

General service battalions (sepa- 

Special shop battalions 

Base depot companies 

Base equipment companies 

Dump truck companies 

Forestry companies 

Heavy shop companies 

Parts supply companies 

Petroleum distribution companies. 

Fire fighting platoons 

Utility detachments 

Other engineer service force type_. 

Air Force type total 

Engineer aviation regiments 

Engineer aviation battalions 

Engineer aviation camouflage, 
topographic and utilities 


Other engineer air force type 








17, 927 


94, 429 


6, 405 


29, 539 


5, 283 



"7 A. 

i 7ft/; 



1 i ^(Yl 

It-, ZUU 


2, 505 


4, 4zZ 


2, 763 


2, 547 


3, 857 


24, 758 


106, 201 


4, 568 


88, 555 




10, 634 

Excludes engineers with all communications zone and zone of interior overhead, such as European theater headquarters, service 
command station complement, replacement training centers, and schools. 

* Strength allowed by War Department actions as shown in 1 July 1945 War Department Troop Basis, published by Strength Ac- 
counting and Reporting Office, Office, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army. 

Source: Statistics, Trp Units Sec, U. S. Army in World War II. MS in OCMH. 

ing supply functions. The important fact 
here is that the engineers were needed both 
in forward and in rear areas. Wherever they 
found themselves, however, their most im- 
portant job was the logistical task of con- 
struction — whether of roads or bridges un- 
der small arms fire or of hospitals and air- 
fields under the threat of bombing. The 
great bulk of engineer troops was concen- 

trated in a few large units which were cap- 
able of undertaking such construction proj- 
ects. By June 1945, 89 divisional combat 
battalions, 204 nondivisional combat bat- 
talions, 124 aviation battalions, 79 general 
service regiments, and 36 construction bat- 
talions had been mobilized. Although the 
idea persisted in certain segments of the 
Army that the Engineers could absorb a 



large number of unskilled labor troops, the 
Engineers had in fact become more and 
more dependent on skilled and semiskilled 
men. The Army would have needed many 
more such units had the engineers been 
merely labor troops. Under the conditions 

of modern war the Engineers relied increas- 
ingly on machine power and the trend was 
toward more and heavier machinery. The 
demands of global warfare made the Corps 
of Engineers in World War II a corps of 


The Engineer Soldier 

The modifications and innovations intro- 
duced into the organization of engineer 
troop units in response to wartime strategy, 
to manpower and materials shortages, and 
to the idiosyncrasies of the three major com- 
mands had a parallel in the preparation of 
the engineer soldier for his job overseas. Be- 
fore the North African landings, the train- 
ing of the engineer soldier, like that of his 
officers, had been governed by the drive 
to fill new units. Both officers and trainees 
were expected to learn most of what they 
should know after assignment to a unit. Re- 
sumption of the twelve-week cycle at re- 
placement training centers in the spring and 
summer of 1942 decreased the amount of 
training left to the unit. But even twelve 
weeks was scarcely long enough to turn out 
soldiers equipped with the skills prerequisite 
to team training unless large numbers of 
them coming to the Engineers had been 
skilled workers in civilian life. 

The expectation that the draft would 
channel a superabundance of skilled men 
into the Army was one of the most serious 
miscalculations in the mobilization plans. 
If the United States had only been required 
to raise an Army there would indeed have 
been a superabundance of such men. If it 
had only been required to produce materiel 
for its own armed forces, there might have 
been enough men with such qualifications 
to go around. But even the most industrial- 
ized nation in the world found itself short 
of skills when, in addition to creating a huge 

fighting force, it continued to man the ar- 
senal of democracy. 

It was the technical services whose plans 
were most upset by the failure to arrive at a 
more accurate estimate of the numbers of 
skilled men who would be drafted. The In- 
fantry required only 164 occupational spe- 
cialists per 1,000 enlisted men. In contrast, 
the requirements of the seven technical serv- 
ices ranged from the 409 per thousand 
needed by the Chemical Warfare Service to 
788 per thousand needed by the Transpor- 
tation Corps. The Corps of Engineers, need- 
ing 725 occupational specialists per thou- 
sand, was second only to the Transportation 
Corps in the number of skilled and semi- 
skilled men required, 1 At no time did the 
Engineers receive anything approaching the 
desired numbers. The corps of specialists 
had to be created. During the expansion be- 
fore Pearl Harbor the enlisted men's courses 
at the Engineer School and the units them- 
selves — the latter often with the help of 
trade schools near their posts — managed to 
produce enough bulldozer operators, car- 
penters, demolitions men, map makers, and 
other technicians. By the spring of 1942, 
however, the job had become too big for 
them to handle. From the fall of that year 
until the following summer the Engineer 
training program was dominated by the de- 
mand for specialists. By the summer of 1943 

1 Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, Procurement and 
Training of Ground Comb at Troops, T able 1, 28 
Jan 43, p. 8. See also above. fpp. 116-l"7"| 



the crisis had passed, not only in regard to 
specialists but in regard to officers and non- 
specialists as well. From then on the Engi- 
neers were relatively free to develop the type 
of training program they had long hoped 
for, a program designed to turn out engineer 
soldiers who could fight, who possessed a 
well-rounded technical knowledge, and who, 
if they were supposed to perform a skilled 
job, could in fact do just that. 

Training the Corps of Specialists 

Late in the spring of 1942 the Engineers, 
at the behest of SOS, made an analysis of 
training needs for the remainder of the year. 
Adding to the troop basis those units almost 
certain to be approved for activation but 
excluding amphibious units and utilities de- 
tachments, the Troops Division calculated 
that 1 46, 144 engineer soldiers would require 
training during the last nine months of 
1942, this load to be distributed as follows : 2 

Engineer replacement training centers 51,487 

Replacement training centers of other 

services 39, 052 

Engineer School 9, 562 

Civilian trade schools 7, 309 

Schools of other services 1, 505 

Engineer units 37, 229 

The probable output of the ERTC's, after 
deductions for OCS and other special pur- 
poses, was 32,295 below what it should have 
been to insure this number. The Engineer 
School was under by about 3,000 and civil- 
ian trade schools then holding contracts 
with the Engineers by approximately 5,500. 
If training in signal communications was to 
be provided by the Signal Corps as the En- 
gineers recommended, that service would 
have to enroll some 1,500 engineer soldiers. 
On 20 May 1942 Sturdevant asked SOS 
to authorize a third ERTC and make ar- 
rangements to increase the output of the 

courses for enlisted men at the Engineer 
School, trade schools, and the Signal Corps 
Service School. 

Sturdevant's plan for training specialists 
deviated little from the practice of the past 
year and a half. Specialist training would 
have been centered where it had always 
been, at the Engineer School. Specifically, 
Sturdevant sought to increase the school's 
output of draftsmen, surveyors, and other 
topographic specialists from 814 to 2,170 
over the nine-month period and increase 
construction machinery operators from 282 
to 1,073. The number of construction ma- 
chinery operators to be trained at the school 
would represent but a fourth of the total re- 
quired. They would be assigned to units to 
teach the others. ERTC's would conduct 
no specialist training; it would be their job 
to select those qualified to attend the 
schools. 3 

SOS's Training Division modified Stur- 
devant's plan drastically. It saw no need to 
establish another replacement training cen- 
ter. AGF was expected to transfer a large 
number of trainees to the technical services 
during 1942. Convinced that the Engineers 
had underestimated the number of skilled 
workers they would receive from the draft, 
SOS cut their estimate of training require- 
ments. On the other hand, Sturdevant's 
idea of drawing upon facilities of the Signal 
Corps Service School and for increasing 
the kinds and amounts of training being 
conducted by civilian trade schools was en- 
couraged. Noting that a number of the 
specialists required by the Quartermaster 
Corps, the Signal Corps, and the Corps of 
Engineers were the same, SOS established 

2 Memo, ACofEngrs (Sturdevant) for Dir Tng 
SOS, 20 May 42, sub: Analysis of Engr Tng, with 
In els 1-7. 353, Pt. 18. 

3 Ibid. 



a co-operative system so that the three serv- 
ices pooled their resources. Each trained for 
all concerned the specialists in which that 
service had a primary interest. Under this 
arrangement the Quartermaster Corps 
would assume the training of ten types of 
specialists which the Engineers had been 
sending to civilian schools and the Signal 
Corps would produce the communications 
experts already listed by Sturdevant. SOS 
authorized the Engineers to contract with 
trade schools for the training of topographic 
instrument repairmen, powerhouse engi- 
neers, electricians, electric motor repairmen, 
and tractor mechanics. 

At this point agreement upon the facili- 
ties for training engineer specialists ceased 
altogether. By the spring of 1942 the Engi- 
neer School had stretched its space to the 
utmost to take care of the growing roster 
of officer candidates. The War Department 
scrutinized all requests for new construction 
with an eye to cutting down on nonessen- 
tials. SOS accordingly ruled that the ca- 
pacity of the enlisted men's courses at the 
school was not to be augmented by any 
significant amount. Instead, preparation 
should be made to take care of no more than 
200 additional students in courses already 
being offered. Civilian schools should train 
draftsmen, surveyors, and geodetic com- 
puters. To meet the large and all-important 
requirement for construction machinery op- 
erators, SOS suggested that the Engineers 
look to the ERTC's. 4 

Although from the beginning some en- 
listed men had been sent to schools directly 
from the ERTC's and some few specialists 
had been trained at the ERTC's themselves, 
the main job of the Belvoir and Wood cen- 
ters during the first year of their existence 
had been to feed basically trained engineer 
soldiers into units. Emergency arrangements 

for the production of specialists in the sum- 
mer of 1942 did not subtract at all from 
this responsibility. The change appeared to 
be a simple one, involving only a shift in 
the immediate destination of the product. 
Instead of going directly to units, a good 
proportion of the men would henceforth be 
siphoned off to learn a trade at service or 
civilian schools or at the ERTC's themselves. 
But the lack of time complicated the pro- 
gram. No sooner had the ERTC's overcome 
an emergency demand for the basically 
trained soldier than they were faced with 
an emergency demand for specialists. They 
satisfied the new demand in the same way 
they had the earlier one, by cutting out some 

The new program was introduced just 
at the time the ERTC's were changing back 
from the eight-week to the twelve-week 
basic training cycle. The longer cycle pro- 
duced a more satisfactory filler but reduced 
the number of men available for specialist 
schooling. The Belvoir center in early July 
1942 worked out a compromise plan to pro- 
duce both qualified fillers and quantities of 
men suitable for more individual instruction. 
Under this plan, which went into operation 
at both Belvoir and Wood in August, there 
were two types of battalions, one for general 
replacements on a twelve-week schedule and 
one which trained potential specialists for 
only five weeks. The centers classified and 
separated the men upon arrival on the basis 
of their qualification cards. The men who 
appeared best qualified by intelligence and 
background went to the specialist candidate 
battalions for the shorter course which con- 
sisted of four weeks of basic military sub- 
jects and one week of technical Engineer 
subjects. At the end of the five weeks, special- 

4 Memo, Deputy Dir Tng SOS for CofEngrs, 13 
Jun 42, sub: Engr Spec Tng. 353, Pt. 18. 



ist candidates were then assigned to special- 
ist schools, or if selected for OCS or re- 
jected for specialist training were trans- 
ferred to a regular battalion. The schedule 
for both types of battalions coincided 
through the first five weeks to facilitate 
such transfers. By converting two white 
battalions and one half of one Negro bat- 
talion to the five-week program each center 
could furnish 780 white and 430 Negro 
specialist candidates each month. This out- 
put would more than fill the quota of 6,181 
students for service and civilian schools 
through December. 

Under the pooling of school facilities es- 
tablished by SOS, about 3,000 of these men 
would attend Quartermaster Corps schools 
to learn welding, automotive repair, and 
other mechanical trades. Signal Corps 
schools would produce about 300 telephone 
linemen, radio operators, and repairmen. 
The 3,000 potential construction machinery 
operators, tractor mechanics, surveyors, 
draftsmen, aerial phototopographers, and 
electricians — specialists in whom the Engi- 
neers had a primary interest — were to be 
dispersed to the Engineer School, to civilian 
institutions, and to the ERTC's own spe- 
cialist courses. 5 

On 4 August Col. Joseph S. Gorlinski, 
chief of O&T, set forth in some detail the 
arrangements for handling this dispersion. 
The Engineer School would drop all courses 
in drafting, surveying, and topographic 
computing. A college or trade school would 
take on this work. The Engineer School 
could then enroll more men in the map re- 
production, aerial phototopography, and 
water purification courses, which would 
then take up over two thirds of its capacity 
of 452 enlisted students. The assignment of 
construction machinery operators to the 
ERTC's for training made room at the 

school for 1 20 more students. O&T decided 
to devote this capacity to a special twelve- 
week construction machinery course which 
would satisfy the engineer aviation bat- 
talions' need for versatile, highly skilled 
operators and maintenance men." 

By the end of September 1942 the Engi- 
neer School had made the basic readjust- 
ments to carry out the new plan. Early that 
month O&T signed a contract with the Uni- 
versity of Kentucky to give courses of three 
months each in general and topographic 
drafting, surveying, and geodetic comput- 
ing to white enlisted men, the first classes 
to enter on 21 September with others fol- 
lowing at weekly intervals to fill the au- 
thorized capacity of 870 students. The fol- 
lowing month the Engineers made similar 
arrangements to train Negro enlisted men at 
the Virginia State College for Negroes, 
classes to begin in mid-November. From 
their opening dates until September 1943 
when the contracts were terminated, the 
University of Kentucky trained 2,985, and 
the Virginia State College for Negroes 440 
topographic specialists. Meanwhile the 
Engineers hastened to enlist the aid of trade 
schools and factories. Between June and 
December 1942 they made arrangements 
with the Radio-Television Institute to train 
electricians, with the Evinrude Motor Com- 
pany to give instruction in the operation 

" (1) 1st Ind, CG ERTC Belvoir to CG Ft. 
Belvoir, 9 Jul 42, 2d Ind, CG Ft. Belvoir to 
CofEngrs, 10 Jul 42, 4th Ind, Dir Tng SOS to 
CofEngrs, 2 Aug 42, on Ltr, Actg C of O&T Br 
to CG ERTC Belvoir, 30 Jun 42, sub: Spec Rqmts, 
353, ERTC Belvoir, Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, C of O&T Br to 
CG ERTC Wood, 29 Aug 42, sub: Tng Program, 
with 1st Ind, 7 Sep 42. Wood, 353.01, Tng Scheds. 
(3) Memo, AC of O&T Br to Gorlinski, 20 Jul 
42, sub: Engr Spec Tng. 353, Pt. 18. 

° The discussion of the enlisted men's courses at 
the Engineer School is based upon Clinard and Mc- 
Cune, Engineer Enlisted Specialists. 



unload pierced steel plank at an airfield in North Africa, January 1943. 

and repair of outboard motors, with Gen- 
eral Motors Corporation to train diesel me- 
chanics, and with the manufacturers of gas 
and electric generators to teach the opera- 
tion and maintenance of this equipment. 
The Engineers looked to the Caterpillar 
Tractor Company and to R. G. LeTour- 
neau, their prime contractors for construc- 
tion machinery, to supplement the ele- 
mentary schooling given by the ERTC's. 
By using the facilities of these manufacturers 
the numbers of highly skilled operators and 
maintenance men required by SOS and 
AGF units could be supplied. Caterpillar 
and LeTourneau would do for these services 

what the Engineer School was doing for 
the Air Forces. 

The new plan for the training of engineer 
specialists was barely under way before it 
had to be modified. The Army Air Forces 
expanded at a more rapid rate than had 
been estimated the previous summer and its 
training program had to be enlarged. Be- 
ginning in December 1942 aviation en- 
gineers would be trained in replacement 
centers operated by the Air Forces. Potential 
aviation engineer specialists would still be 
sent to the Engineers for schooling. Under 
the accelerated program the Engineers 
would have to furnish 700 specialists each 



month to the AAF, of whom 264 would be 
construction machinery operators. Since the 
first reduction in the capacity of OCS had 
made room for more men at the Engineer 
School, O&T decided to concentrate special- 
ist training for the AAF at the school. But 
training time had to be cut from twelve to 
four weeks. Instead of turning out a worker 
who was familiar with all the machinery 
used in the construction of airfields as had 
been contemplated under the twelve-week 
course for aviation engineers, the four-week 
course turned out a worker familiar with 
only one type. The graduate of the school's 
mechanical equipment course for aviation 
engineers was no more versatile than the 
graduate of the mechanical equipment 
courses given at ERTC's. Those highly 
skilled men needed by engineer aviation bat- 
talions were trained at Caterpillar and Le- 
Tourneau along with those destined for SOS 
and AGF engineer units. Room was also 
made at the Engineer School to admit AAF 
trainees in map reproduction, water puri- 
fication, and camouflage. By December the 
school's capacity was almost double that of 

the previous September: 7 

Total 890 

Phototopography 130 

Map reproduction 160 

Water purification 200 

Camouflage 100 

Mechanical equipment, aviation 300 

To satisfy the demand for other specialists 
required by AAF, the University of Ken- 
tucky enrolled additional students in its sur- 
veying and topographic computing courses 
and contracts were executed with the Frank- 
lin Technical Institute of Boston and the 
Metropolitan Technical School of New York 
for the training of draftsmen and elec- 
tricians, respectively. 

The Engineers expected the quality of 
specialist candidates sent from ERTC's to 
be superior to those chosen by unit com- 
manders, who were reluctant to separate 
many of their best men from their organi- 
zations. The qualifications for the different 
courses varied. Candidates for the photo- 
topography courses were to be high school 
graduates, preferably with a knowledge of 
trigonometry and drafting; candidates for 
the aviation engineer equipment course 
were to be quick at arithmetic and the use 
of formulae, with aptitude for, or experience 
in, electrical and mechanical work. AGCT 
scores between 90 and 100 and in certain 
courses Mechanical Aptitude Test scores of 
not less than 100 were prerequisites. Lack- 
ing control over the qualifications of men 
sent to the Engineers from reception centers 
and under pressure to fill quotas, the 
ERTC's found themselves in an impossible 
position. From the Enlisted Specialists 
Branch at the University of Kentucky came 
complaints that half its students had less 
than the minimum amount of education 
required. The Army Air Forces confessed it 
could not fill quotas unless it lowered stand- 
ards. SOS directed the Engineers to allow 
all but "obvious misfits" to complete the 
aviation engineer equipment course, al- 
though they need not be graduated. In 
March 1943 the qualifications for enroll- 
ment were revised downward to fit more 
nearly the qualifications of candidates being 
received. A high school diploma, the com- 
mandant of the Engineer School insisted, 
was more important to the topographical 
specialist than was his AGCT score which 
could be as low as 90 for some courses. 

'Ltr, Comdt Engr Sch to O&T Br, 2 Nov 42, 
sub: Proposed Increases in Off Courses and Enl 
Spec Courses, Engr Sch, with 2d Ind, 16 Nov 42. 
352.11, Engr Sch. 



Candidates in the mechanical equipment 
course could score as low as 85 on the 
AGCT and 90 on the Mechanical Aptitude 
Test. They should have some knowledge of 
arithmetic. Previous experience with ma- 
chinery was essential. 

The entire output of the five-week bat- 
talions at the ERTC's was at first chan- 
neled into service and civilian schools. Men 
destined for specialist training at the 
ERTC's — would-be construction machin- 
ery operators, carpenters, demolitions men, 
truck drivers, buglers, messengers, clerks, 
typists, mess sergeants, cooks, and bakers — 
had to be drawn from the regular twelve- 
week battalions. 8 OCE furnished quotas for 
each of these ERTC courses according to 
current estimated needs. The ERTC's se- 
lected men to fill these quotas on the basis of 
civilian experience, interest, and capability. 
Some directly allied civilian occupations 
fitted reasonably well into the system, but 
for the most part the men had to be trained 
completely at the center. As a consequence, 
native ability and interest were the quali- 
fications most often sought. Since the jobs 
to be learned were all simple, none requir- 
ing an AGCT score above Class III, suffi- 
cient numbers were in most cases available. 
The Wood center in November 1942 re- 
ported 10 percent more men suitable for 
this instruction by AGCT scores than it 
could use. Lack of interest accounted for 
much of the difficulty in obtaining cooks, in 
spite of the low requirements for this course. 
The danger involved in demolition work 
made this one of the hardest of the courses 
to fill at Belvoir, but the Wood center re- 
ceived enough men with mining experience 
to meet its quota. Quotas for construction 
machinery operators, the group of specialists 
most vital to the success of the engineer 
mission, were the hardest to fill. In the first 

place the quotas were much larger for this 
course than for any other. Perhaps more 
important, some familiarity with power ma- 
chinery was almost mandatory for its suc- 
cessful completion. The high ratio of failures 
among this group of specialist candidates 
at Wood was attributed to the large number 
of trainees who saw such machines for the 
first time at the centers. Few men with 
civilian experience in construction work 
reached the replacement centers. They went 
instead directly from the reception centers 
to fill general service or special service 

Each center developed its own organiza- 
tion for specialist instruction. At Belvoir, one 
company from each of the seven regular 
battalions became a specialist company. 
After seven weeks of regular training, the 
selected men transferred to the specialist 
company for the remaining five weeks. In 
September the officer refresher, railway of- 
ficer, pre-OCS, special development, and 
specialist programs at Wood were placed in 
a special training group under a single ad- 
ministrative head. The specialists remained 
in their original battalions for housing but 
for administrative and training purposes 
were considered a part of this group after 
the first seven weeks. There was a further 
centralization in December. After that time 
all ERTC-traincd specialists transferred 
physically to one battalion once the seven 

!1 Unless otherwise cited, the remainder of this 
section on specialist training is based upon: (1) 
353, Engr Specs, Pt. 1; (2) 353, ASFTC Wood, 
7-12-41-1-3-46; (3) Belvoir, 353, Tng, 1941-42; 
(4) Wood, 353.01, Tng Scheds. 

" (1) Ltr, Asst Adj Belvoir to CofEngrs, 21 Dec 
42, sub: Qualifications of Specs, with Incl 1, List 
of Spec Sells in Order of Difficulty of Mtg Rqmts 
With Well-Qualified Trainees. P&T Div file, Ft. 
Belvoir ASFTC. (2) Memo, Dir Pers Div ERTC 
Wood for Col Edward H. Coe, 29 Dec 42, with 
Incls. 320.2, ASFTC Wood. 


GLASS IN AUTOMOTIVE MECHANICS at the Enlisted Specialists School, Ft. 
Belvoir, Va. 

weeks of basic and general technical train- 
ing were completed. The special training 
group as a separate administrative unit was 
discontinued in February 1943, but the 
specialist battalion setup lasted until the fol- 
lowing October. 10 

Instruction in each specialty was a com- 
bination of theory and practice but with 
much the greater amount of time being 
spent in practical work. Demolitions men 
learned the skills necessary to crater roads, 
demolish highway bridges, destroy railroad 
rails, bridges, and rolling stock, and cripple 
water and power plants. Carpenters learned 
to build several types of structures using 
both wood and concrete. The centers man- 
aged to give the specialists practical ex- 
perience and at the same time benefit their 

own plants. Carpenters added classroom 
buildings. Machine operators built roads, 
excavated swimming pools, and prepared 
terrain for firing ranges." 

The general step-up in the production of 
ERTC specialists after August 1942 en- 
tailed additional equipment. But the short- 
age of construction machinery which pre- 

"(1) Ltr, CO ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 10 
Sep 42, sub: Orgn of Spec Tng Group. Wood, 353, 
Tng (Special Tng). (2) Tng of Repls, Annex II, 
and Exhibits 1 to 13, Chart 3, 6 Aug 43. 

" (1) Specialist Lesson Outlines, ERTC, Ft. Bel- 
voir, Va., Jan 43. (2) 2d Ind, ERTC Wood to CG 
Seventh SvC, 7 Dec 43, on Ltr, Col John T. Min- 
ton to CG Seventh SvC, 2 Dec 43, sub: Tng Inspec, 
ERTC, Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. Wood, 333.1, 
Inspec Rpts by Visiting Offs. (3) Belvoir Castle, 
18 Feb 44. 



vailed during 1942 dictated that all avail- 
able standard models be sent overseas. In 
order to have any at all, the centers had to 
be content with a variety of used nonstand- 
ard types, and even these were scarce for 
months after the courses began. The total 
additional equipment authorized for each 
ERTC, as the result of lists submitted in 
August, included 21 air compressors, 31 
bulldozers, 2 ditching machines, 2 earth 
augers, 2 road rollers, 1 grader, 4 shovels, 3 
cranes, 1 concrete mixer, and 20 bugles. By 
5 October Wood had received 20 bugles. 
Small amounts of more useful equipment 
began to arrive, however, at the end of that 
month. Yet as late as February 1943 Bel- 
voir still had less than its authorized amount 
of machinery. By this time, furthermore, 
there was an additional complication. A 
new ERTC was being built in Oregon with 
an opening date in May. Everything that 
could be obtained on the low training pri- 
ority during the spring of that year was ear- 
marked for the new center. 12 

Other portions of the specialist program 
faced similar difficulties. The courses in 
driver instruction were so restricted by a 
shortage of trucks and motorcycles through 
1 942 that the burden of this training was in 
effect returned to the units, with higher 
maintenance costs as a result." Task force 
requirements, production levels, priorities, 
and other training needs went a long way 
to explain and excuse the presence of sub- 
standard equipment in 1942 and early 1943. 
But in the eyes of many this was false 
economy. "When we got the good equip- 
ment," wrote the commander of the 41st 
Division from New Guinea in the summer of 
1943, "we were very apt to ruin it because 
our operators were not trained on it. They 

must be trained in the equipment they are to 
use in the field." 14 Many never were. 

The specialist program precipitated re- 
organizations and brought on equipment 
crises, and was also the deciding factor in 
renewed demands from the centers for 
larger training and administrative staffs. 
The Wood center had increased its capacity 
from 8,800 to 9,760 trainees on 1 February 
1942 by emergency crowding. Proportional 
cadre had not been granted because the 
measure was intended to last only until the 
new ERTC could be built. Belvoir shifted 
to the same basis on 27 September, absorb- 
ing the increase into the established training 
battalions. Mainly at the insistence of Bel- 
voir, the officer complement for the centers 
had been revised upwards from 341 to 375 
by June 1942, but the enlisted allowance 
remained at the previous December level of 
1,640. In September 1942 both centers in- 
sisted upon a revision. The Wood center by 
that time realized that the plans for the new 
ERTC did not include any reduction in 
trainee capacity at the existing centers, that 
the temporary enlarged capacity was in ef- 
fect permanent. The specialist program in- 
creased the pressure. By early October both 

12 (1) Ltr, AC of O&T Br to C of Sup Div, 1 
Sep 42, sub: Equip for ERTCs. 475, ASFTC Bel- 
voir. (2) Ltr, CO ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 5 
Oct 42, sub: Increase of T/BA, with 1st Ind, 17 
Oct 42. 475, ASFTC Wood. (3) Ltr, ExO ERTC 
Belvoir to CofEngrs, 18 Feb 43, sub: Status of 
Equip, with 2d Ind, C of O&T Br to CG ERTC 
Belvoir, 1 Mar 43. 475, ASFTC Belvoir. 

13 Ltr, AC of O&T Br to C Allowance Br SOS, 
12 Dec 42, sub: T/A 5-1: Prospective Change in 
Ord Motor Transport Equip, with 2d Ind, Dir 
Rqmts Div SOS to CofEngrs, 13 Jan 43. 400.43, 
Pt. 45. 

" Trudeau file, General Ogden. 



ENGINEER EQUIPMENT IN NEW GUINEA, February 1943. Sheepsfoot roller 
(left ) and road grader used by 43d Engineers to build an airstrip near Dobodura. 

centers had been granted an additional 75 
enlisted men and in December SOS ap- 
proved an allotment of 380 officers and 
1,715 men. 15 

An added complication to the ERTC 
specialist program was the rigid specifica- 
tion by ASF of the content, length, and se- 
quence of training in several of the courses. 
In the interest of standardization of courses 
for cooks, clerks, automotive mechanics, 
and motor vehicle operators which were 
given at all ASF replacement centers, 
the ASF Training Division in March 1943 
issued individual eight-week schedules to be 
followed without modification. The full 
eight weeks for the ASF courses had to be 
given even if the centers had to use process- 
ing time or curtail basic training. No omis- 
sions or substitutions could be made in these 

ASF courses, contrary to the policy with 
regard to those prescribed by OCE, which 

I "' ( 1 ) Ltr, Asst Corps Area IG to CG Third 
Corps Area, 13 Dec 41, sub: Ann Gen Inspec, Sta- 
tion Complement and ERTC, Ft. Belvoir. Belvoir, 
333.1, Investigations and Inspecs, 1941-42. (2) 
Offiee Memo, AC of O&T Br for Col Garlington, 
3 Mar 42, sub: T/Os ERTCs. 320.2, RTCs (C). 
(3) T/O 5-510, ERTC (Consolidated), 16 Jun 
42. 320.2, RTCs, Pt. 1. (4) Ltr, C of O&T Br to 
CG SOS. 2 Sep 42, sub: Increase in Allot of Pers, 
ERTC. Ft. Leonard Wood. 320.22, ASFTC Wood. 
(5) Ltr, Actg C of O&T Br to CG SOS, 12 Sep 
42, sub: Increase in Allot of Pers, ERTC, Ft. 
Belvoir. 320.2, ERTC Belvoir, Pt. 1. (6) Ltr, AGO 
to CG ERTC Belvoir, 5 Oct 42, sub: Allot of 
Grades and Authorized Strength. Same file. (7) 
Ltr, AGO to CG ERTC Wood, 17 Sep 42, sub: 
Allot of Grades and Authorized Strength. 320.22, 
ASFTC Wood. (8) 1st Ind, 16 Dec 42, on Ltr, 
Asst QMG to O&T Br, 14 Dec 42, sub: Rqmts for 
ERTCs. 320.2, ERTCs, Pt. 1. (9) Memo, AC of 
O&T Br for Trig Div SOS, 2 Jan 43, sub: Pers for 
New ERTC, Camp Abbot (Bend). 320.2, ERTC 



were left flexible enough to allow for local 
differences and training emergencies. 10 

In spite of shortages of instructors and 
equipment, the centers did turn out the re- 
quired specialists, whether fully qualified for 
their positions or not. Between June 1942 
and June 1943, the two centers produced 
14,409 specialists from a total of 82,301 men 
received, or 17.5 percent of the whole. Of 
these 14,409 specialists, 10,486 were white, 
constituting 17.83 percent of the total white 
trainees. Of the 23,500 Negroes received, 
3,923 or 16.69 percent became specialists. 
Many more Negroes were selected for train- 
ing in the elementary courses given in the 
ERTC's than for the more advanced 
specialist training at service and trade 
schools. Of the 15,876 men selected to at- 
tend schools, 14,685 were white and only 
1,191 were Negro. 17 By May 1943, the pro- 
gram of specialist training at the centers had 
settled sufficiently so that O&T could pre- 
dict the combined annual output of Belvoir, 
Wood, and the new center at Camp Abbot, 

Oregon: 18 

Total 14, 182 

Heavy equipment operator 5, 032 

Chauffeur and driver 1, 980 

Carpenter 1, 895 

Cook 1,850 

Demolition man 1, 351 

Clerk and typist 1, 221 

Mess sergeant 296 

Half-track driver 278 

Bugler and messenger 222 

Sign painter 37 

Mechanic, maintenance 20 

While the ERTC specialist courses were 
gradually being straightened out, the other 
part of engineer specialist training which 
affected the centers, the production of men 
qualified for more advanced training in 
schools, ran into difficulties of its own. Be- 

cause of insufficient co-ordination between 
the times the five-week specialist candidate 
battalions emptied and the opening dates of 
specialist courses at the schools, there was 
alternately a piling up of men for whom no 
school assignments existed and then open- 
ings in schools when there were no five- 
week battalions scheduled for completion. 
Though each center had only two and one- 
half battalions on this shorter program, the 
more rapid rate at which they completed 
training resulted in their turning out more 
than one third of all the trainees passing 
through the ERTC's. The already closely 
packed centers had no place to house such 
large numbers. Each battalion had to be 
cleared to make room for the next contin- 
gent which pressed close behind. 

Since these men ranked second only to 
officer candidates in intelligence and apti- 
tude, it was important that they be con- 
served and advantageously placed. The ob- 
vious answer was a pooling arrangement to 
store them for short intervals until they 
could enter the schools. During September 
1942 the need for such a regulatory pool was 
particularly acute. OCE made arrange- 
ments with the Engineer Unit Training 
Center at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, to 
take these surplus men into units there until 

1,1 (1) MTP 5-2, 4 May 43. (2) Ltr, Actg C of 
O&T Br to CG ERTC Belvoir, 18 Mar 43, sub: 
MTP 5-2. 353.01, ETC Belvoir, 18 Mar 43-20 
Aug 46. (3) Ltr, Adj ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 
15 Dec 42, sub: Request for Approval of Spec 
Tng Program, with 1st Ind, 8 Jan 43. Wood, 352, 
Schs (Gen). 

17 (1) 2d Ind, ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 17 
Dec 42, on Ltr, O&T Br to CG ERTC Belvoir, 5 
Dec 42, sub: Rpt on Trainees Received at ERTCs. 
353, ERTC Belvoir. (2) Ltr, Asst Adj ERTC Bel- 
voir to CofEngrs, 5 Jan 43, same sub. 353, ASFTC 
Belvoir, Pt. 2. 

"Memo, AC of O&T Br for CG ASF, 21 May 
43, sub: Rqmts for Sch Trained Specs, with Inc.l. 
P&T Div file, Engr Spec Tng. 



they could be recalled to schools. If not re- 
called within designated times they were 
to be incorporated into units. 13 This plan 
might have worked had the total number of 
men produced by the five-week battalions 
coincided with the total capacities of the 
schools, but by October the centers were 
delivering more than the 700 to 800 which 
the schools could absorb each month. These 
excess men had to be assigned to units as 
general replacements after only five weeks 
of training, not only wasting their potential 
skills but handicapping them as well with 
inadequate tactical and technical instruc- 
tion. By early November 1942 more than 40 
percent of the specialist candidates were 
going to units, not schools. 

Dissatisfied with this obvious misuse of 
manpower, SOS called for a decrease in the 
output from the five-week battalions or an 
increase in the capacities of the schools. The 
latter was not feasible. On the other hand, 
to equalize the capacities of the five-week 
battalions with those of the schools would 
waste considerable space at the centers. In 
mid-November, Belvoir evolved a system 
which was adopted immediately at Wood, 
The five-week battalions continued to pro- 
duce as many men as before, but one com- 
pany from each of these battalions shifted 
to ERTC specialist training after five weeks. 
This plan provided a better qualified group 
for the center specialist courses, which ran 
through the full twelve weeks, and made 
much better use of engineer manpower. 
Fewer men were then selected from the 
twelve-week battalions for the center spe- 
cialist courses. The remaining three com- 
panies in the five-week battalions normally 
furnished enough men to fill school quotas. 
When they could not, fewer men were trans- 
ferred to the ERTC specialist program 

which then selected more men from the 
regular battalions. 

Replacement requirements were such in 
November 1942 that the 8,800-man annual 
loss in output under this plan was no serious 
matter. When requirements were reviewed 
once more in the spring of 1943, the maxi- 
mum output of both general replacements 
and specialists which had been imposed by 
the 1942 troop basis no longer seemed neces- 
sary. Mobilization had stabilized. O&T 
thereupon recommended that the five -week 
battalions be discontinued altogether. The 
shift promised to be advantageous in a num- 
ber of ways. All trainees, including special- 
ists, would have twelve weeks of ERTC 
training before transfer, five weeks of basic 
training and seven weeks of tactical and 
technical w r ork. All trainees at the end of 
that time would be qualified as general re- 
placements if the quotas for school-trained 
specialists were further reduced. Since no 
transfer would be necessary from one bat- 
talion to another as the school quotas 
changed, the administrative load would be 
decreased. Specialists would enter the 
ERTC courses after the fifth week. ASF 
approved this plan at the end of March, 
with the stipulation that for those trainees 
taking the four ASF-standardized specialist 
courses the division of time must be four 
weeks and eight weeks, since for those 
courses eight weeks had been prescribed. 21 ' 
In formulating these plans, G— 1 failed to 

10 (1) Ltr, AC of O&T Br to CG EUTC Clai- 
borne. 22 Sep 42, sub: Engr Spec Tng. 220.3, 
ASFTC Claiborne. (2) 2d Ind, C of O&T Br to 
CG SOS, 12 Jan 43, on Ltr, CG ERTC Belvoir 
to CofEngrs, 22 Dec 42, sub: Proposed Table of 
Pers. 320.2, ASFTC Belvoir. 

-" Ltr, C of O&T Br to Dir Tng SOS, 2 Mar 43, 
sub: ERTC Program for 1943, with 1st Ind, 25 
Mar 43, 2d Ind, 29 Mar 43, and 3d Ind, 30 Mar 
43. 353.01, ERTC, Pt. 1. 



anticipate the increase in replacement needs 
that accompanied the climax of the Allied 
campaign in North Africa in the spring of 
1943. Once again the centers and schools 
had to concentrate on a maximum output. 
The lengthened program for school spe- 
cialists had to be postponed for several 
months. Belvoir and Wood operated above 
rapacity to furnish the men needed, since 
the new center in Oregon was not completed 
until May. 21 

Even so, from May to early July 1943 
both Belvoir and Wood found it hard at 
times to meet the school quotas. It was not 
only a matter of numbers, but also the qual- 
ity of men received and priorities given to 
other training. The plan worked out by Bel- 
voir in November 1942 had provided for 
the use of all the men in the five-week bat- 
talions as specialists, trained either at the 
ERTCs or at outside schools. By this time, 
the ERTC courses had established a priority 
claim upon these men because construction 
machinery operators were more desperately 
needed than any other group. Quotas for 
school training had to be met from those 
remaining after the ERTC courses were 
filled. This situation was coupled with Army 
Specialized Training Program withdrawals 
and OCS selections, and aggravated by 
large numbers of men who, although as- 
signed to the five-week battalions, were not 
qualified for schools because of low AGCT 
scores, poor attitude, age, or physical con- 
dition. Out of 2,027 men in the five-week 
battalions at Belvoir in mid-July, 1,241 were 
either not qualified or not available for 
specialist training at the center or at 

The expanded specialist program, com- 
bined with numerous extra training respon- 
sibilities and the increased demands for men 
for other purposes, pushed the training of 

regular replacements into a relatively minor 
position despite the efforts of OCE and the 
centers themselves to co-ordinate and im- 
prove the quality of this instruction. By No- 
vember 1942 Col. Frank S. Besson, Sr., the 
commanding officer of the Wood center, had 
come to the conclusion that the training of 
the nonspecialized replacement was com- 
pletely disrupted. He recommended abolish- 
ing both the five- and twelve-week programs 
and suggested a substitute uniform period 
of only seven weeks for all. Seven weeks 
represented the extent of actual uninter- 
rupted training at his center. About one 
third of the men were in the five-week bat- 
talions which did not pretend to give ade- 
quate basic instruction. In the twelve-week 
battalions, the transfer of OCS candidates, 
the attendance of ERTC specialists at 
schools, and frequent calls for shipments to 
units so depleted their ranks that in the last 
few weeks there were often not enough men 
left both for guard duty and for all of the 
scheduled training. Such depletions wasted 
space, facilities, and instructors' time. Since 
the length of stay of any given group of 
trainees could not be predicted, a balanced 
schedule could not be drawn up to fit the 
amount of time available. The trainee 
simply had the latter part of his training cut 
short. Not until August 1943 could the cen- 

J1 ( 1 ) Ltr, Asst Ground Adj Hq AGF to CofEngrs, 
8 May 43, sub: Increase in Capacity of Spec Schs 
for AGF Engr Units. 220.63, Special Sv Schs. (2] 
Memo. Actg C of O&T Br for CG ASF, 8 May 43, 
sub: Output of ERTCs. 320.22, ERTC, Pt. 1. (3) 
Memo, Lt Col J. D. Strong for Dir Mil Tng ASF, 
21 Jun 43, sul>: Inspec of ERTC, Ft. Leonard 
Wood. 333.1, ASFTC Wood. 

( 1 ) Ltr, Asst Ground Adj Hq AGF to CofEngrs, 
8 May 43, sub : Increase in Capacity of Spec Schs 
for AGF Engr Units. 220.63, Special Sv Schs. (2) 
Ltr, Asst Adj ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 14 Jul 
43, sub: Spec. Schs, with 1st Ind, AC of O&T Br 
to CG ASF, 17 Jul 43. P&T Div file. Engr Spec. Tng. 



ters abolish the five-week battalions and give 
a longer uniform period of training to all 

Reflections From Battle 

While dissatisfaction on the home front 
played a part in bringing about changes in 
the training of the engineer soldier, the 
ultimate test was the battle. 23 Reports from 
North Africa were full of praise for the 
engineer soldier when he was called upon to 
perform such strictly engineering activities 
as road building and bridging. In their par- 
ticular specialties the engineer replacements 
were on the whole well trained. As combat 
troops they were as unprepared for their 
role as the men from other services. The re- 
ports from the North African campaign 
criticized the unreal quality of training, the 
lack of hatred for the enemy, the sense of 
playing a game on a vast scale. As one 
private expressed his angry contempt for 
this attitude: "I know so well those men 
who were cut to ribbons at the Kas serine 
Pass, and I know why they were thrown 
into confusion, panicked by attacks, and ac- 
cepted their fate almost paralyzed. When 
they jumped into foxholes to let the tanks 
roll over them, and were bayoneted in these 
foxholes by the Infantry that came behind 
the tanks, they died with an astonished look 
on their faces, as if they wanted to ask: 
'Could that be possible, would they really 
do that?' " 24 

Discipline in the early stages of the in- 
vasion was poor. Souvenir hunting led to 
casualties from booby traps. First aid in- 
struction proved inadequate. The use of 
camouflage was apparently understood, but 
rarely employed. Foxholes were not dug 
deep enough to provide adequate protec- 
tion. Units did not disperse widely enough 

from road convoys to avoid strafing from 
planes. Members of many weapons teams 
could fill only one position; one casualty 
could incapacitate an entire crew. Observers 
recommended training with live ammuni- 
tion and real mines, more night work and 
extended field operations during bad 
weather under conditions of extreme fatigue, 
with subsistence for long periods on field 
rations. The use of engineers as infantry 
pointed up the need for tanks in tactical 
training, and for a broader program of in- 
struction in machine gun fire in support of 
engineer combat missions. Engineer combat 
battalions had little straight engineering 
duty in North Africa, except mine laying 
and removal. A detailed knowledge of 
mines and mine detectors was imperative. 25 
The ERTC's had been contending for 
months against restrictions which prevented 
them from exposing trainees to anything ap- 

" With the exception of those files noted sepa- 
rately, this section and the one immediately fol- 
lowing are based upon: (1 ) 353, ERTCs, Pt. 1; (2) 
353, ETC Belvoir, Pt. 2; (3) Belvoir, 353, Tng, 
1943; (4) Wood, 353, Tng; (5) 353.01, ETC 
Belvoir, 1943-46; (6) 322, ASFTC Abbot; (7) 
400.34, ERTG, Pt. 1; (8) Belvoir, 470, Ammuni- 
tion, Armament, and Similar Stores, 1943. 

21 Pamphlet, Pvt Frank B. Sargeant, The Most 
Common Shortcomings in the Training of Battalion 
and Regimental S-2 Personnel, and Some Sugges- 
tions to Overcome These (Washington, 1943), p. 
17. Ft. Lewis, 353, Illumination, Irregularities, and 
Dim-Out Inspecs (Separate File). 

- r ' ( 1 ) Ltr, C of O&T Br to CGs ERTCs, 24 Feb 
43, sub: Notes on Recent Fighting in Tunisia. 353, 
ASFTC Belvoir, Pt. 2. (2) "Errors in Africa to 
Bring Changes in Training Here," Fort Wood News 
Hate March or early April 1943]. Wood, Fort 
Wood News Clippings. (3) Ltr, Asst G-3 Engr 
Amph Comd to CG Engr Amph Comd, 14 Apr 43, 
sub: Obsvns on Tng of Trps in the Fid in Tunisia. 
EAC, 370.2, North Africa (S). (4) Ltr, OCofOrd 
to All Mil Estabs Ninth SvC, 12 Jul 43, sub: Unit 
and Individual Tng. Lewis, 353, Tng, 17 Jun 43-31 
Oct 43. (5) Ltr, C Engr AFHQ to CofEngrs, 19 
Jul 43, sub: U. S. Engrs in the Tunisian Campaign. 
Intel file, Engr Sch, Doc 1547, U. S. Engrs in the 
Tunisian Campaign (S). 



preaching the feel of battle. Instead of live 
ammunition, the centers had to use fire- 
crackers to simulate everything from small 
arms fire and supporting weapons to mine 
charges and booby traps. The trainees, hear- 
ing only the report of a cap when a "mine" 
exploded were not unduly impressed. Struck 
by this fact, the cadre at Belvoir had, as 
early as July 1942, asked for one antitank 
mine for every 150 men for demonstration 
purposes. Despite the fact that only cadres 
were to handle the live mines — and log 
mats would cover them — SOS ruled against 
their issue on the grounds that the demon- 
stration was too dangerous. 26 

By spring 1943 the experience gained in 
Tunisia began to be reflected in the training 
of engineer replacements. In April ASF di- 
rected that every trainee must "so far as 
practicable ... be subjected during train- 
ing to every sight, sound, and sensation of 
battle." He must be prepared mentally to 
perform his duties "regardless of noise, con- 
fusion, and surprise." 27 Combat training, as 
interpreted by O&T, was to duplicate battle 
conditions just short of causing casualties. 
Allowances of explosives, detonating cord, 
firing devices, mine detectors, smoke and 
tear gas pots, gas alarms, and blank am- 
munition were revised upward. By the end 
of the summer Belvoir and Wood received 
sufficient quantities to conduct the required 
training. 28 

In infiltration courses the men crept over 
rough ground with full field equipment, 
subjected to the constant chatter of machine 
guns and the intermittent jarring of explo- 
sives. Tear gas, smoke, and still more ex- 
plosives accompanied assault problems. 
Small villages were built in which to train 
the men in house-to-house fighting, routing 
snipers from roofs and attics and machine 
gunners from street barricades. Booby traps 
exploded when doors were opened or unat- 

tached articles touched, detonations simu- 
lating mortar and artillery fire shook the 
surrounding area. One of the trainees at 
Belvoir expressed the desired result when he 
exclaimed after a particularly rough day on 
these "diabolical" courses, "Nothing can 
scare us now, we hope !" 2!) Such training 
did not always stop just short of casualties. 
Carelessness no longer produced a fire- 
cracker burn. 

From battle zones came repeated de- 
mands for combat training with tanks. The 
centers were well aware of the value of tanks 
for combat training as well as for testing 
bridges and obstacles but the two or three 
allotted them through 1942 allowed too little 
instruction in antimechanized attack or 
combat principles. Accordingly, on 24 June 
1943, OCE requested four light and four 
medium tanks for each center. This allow- 
ance enabled the centers to include tactical 
problems against and in support of actual 
tanks in combat training. The techniques of 
hasty defenses could be made more realistic, 
with the tanks rolling over the trainees as 
they crouched in foxholes. 30 

M Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 27 Jul 
42, sub: Antitank Mines, M-l, with 2d Ind, C of 
O&T Br to CG ERTC Belvoir, 3 Aug 42, with 3d 
Ind, CG ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 7 Aug 42. 
471, ASFTC Belvoir. 

"AGO Memo S 350-26-43, 25 Apr 43, sub: 
Combat Tng, ASF. 

28 WD Cir 111, 29 Apr 43. 

'"Belvoir Castle, 11 Jan 43. For a fuller discus- 
sion of realism in training, see Palmer, Wiley, and 
Keast, op. cit., pp. 387, 388. 

30 ( 1 ) Incl, Office Memo, Coe for Gorlinski, 1 1 
Dec 42, sub: Supplement to Rpt on Tng Inspec of 
ERTC, Ft. Leonard Wood, to Office Memo, Gor- 
linski for Sturdevant, 12 Dec 42, sub; Inspec of 
ERTC, Ft. Leonard Wood. Wood, 333.1, Inspecs. 
(2) Ltr, CG Ft. Belvoir to CofEngrs, 14 Dec 42, 
sub: Request for Tanks. 470.8, ETC Belvoir. (3) 
Ltr, CO ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 21 Dec 42, sub: 
Inspec of ERTC, Ft. Leonard Wood. 333.1. 
ASFTC Wood. (4) Intcrv, Col Paschal Strong, 28 
Nov 52. (5) Info from Coe, 7 Jan 53. 




touch only, part of combat training for Engineers, Camp Abbot, Oreg. 

Physical hardening and marches were in- 
tensified. Additional obstacle courses were 
built and repeatedly run. At Belvoir, phys- 
ical conditioning was combined with a prac- 
tical application of rigging lessons in an 
additional knot obstacle course. Night op- 
erations were expanded to include five prob- 
lems at Belvoir. The first one came in the 
second week and consisted of a cadre dem- 
onstration of night patrolling. In the fourth 
week, four platoons worked together on a 
night outpost problem. Four weeks later 
there was a night bridging operation, in 
total darkness, with maximum secrecy. A 
week later, the same type of operation fol- 
lowed in road building. In the last week or 
two of training there was a night recon- 
naissance trip which involved the use of a 
compass. 31 

New Proportions and Capacities 

At the same time that the centers re- 
oriented instruction along more practical 
lines in the spring of 1943 their prime func- 
tion changed from furnishing fillers for new 
units to replacing actual battle losses in ex- 
isting ones. This functional shift began to be 
apparent by early spring and was one of 
the factors in promoting realism in training. 
Another aspect of this change was the dif- 

31 ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col C. D. Hill for Dir Tng SOS, 
21 Oct 42, sub: Inspec of ERTC, Ft. Belvoir, Va. 
Belvoir, 333.1, Investigations and Inspecs, 1941-42. 
(2) Memo, C of RTG Br ASF for Dir Tng ASF, 
8 Apr 43, sub: Inspec of ERTC, Ft. Belvoir, Va. 
333.1, ERTC Belvoir. (3) Memo, Lt Col J. D. 
Strong for Dir Tng ASF, 21 Jun 43, sub: Inspec 
of ERTC, Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. 333.1, ASFTC 



ferent basis upon which the production of 
Negro and white trainees had to be cal- 
culated. Belvoir and Wood produced white 
and Negro engineers in a set proportion 
based upon the numbers needed for the new 
units, about three Negroes to every seven 
white trainees. The shift in emphasis to 
training replacements upset this balance. 
The demand for white replacements outran 
the numbers produced by this ratio, while 
the demand for Negro replacements was so 
small that too many Negro engineers re- 
sulted. By May 1943, this situation was 
chipping away at the efforts to improve 
training. White engineer replacements had 
to be supplied from the centers of other 
arms and services where they had received 
no engineer training. Surplus Negro engi- 
neers who had received this training were 
sent to other arms and services. OCE 
strongly recommended to ASF in May that 
the Negro and white capacities of the 
ERTC's be placed upon a basis directly 
proportional to Engineer loss require- 
ments. 32 

To reduce the proportion of Negro 
trainees at each Engineer center while keep- 
ing the same total capacities would have re- 
sulted in housing both white and Negro 
trainees in sections of each center which had 
been set apart for Negroes only. In early 
August OCE recommended a solution 
which would keep the races separated, pro- 
vide equal facilities, and at the same time 
reduce the Negro output to conform to loss 
requirements. All Negro training at Belvoir 
would be discontinued. The three Negro 
battalions at Wood could furnish all the 
Negro engineers required. The decision to 
give all Negro training at Wood instead of 
at Belvoir was based upon the fact that 
Negro housing at Wood was more widely- 
separated from that of the white trainees. 

Recreational areas were comparable. No 
Negro trainees went to Belvoir after August 
1943. As the Negro battalions there com- 
pleted training under the twelve-week pro- 
gram over the course of the next few months, 
they were replaced by white battalions 
which began on a newly approved seven- 
teen-week program, 33 

By July 1943 it seemed once more that 
Belvoir and Wood might be able to relax 
their efforts. Long-range estimates for the 
rest of 1943 and 1944 indicated that a 
lower output would be required since avail- 
able manpower would be such that only re- 
placements for existing units would be pro- 
vided after August. The new ERTC at 
Camp Abbot, Oregon, had begun its first 
cycles and would relieve still more of the 
pressure from the other two centers. 34 

Camp Abbot was located in the sparsely 
populated central part of Oregon in a region 
given to Indian reservations, bird sanctu- 
aries, and national parks. It lay on the ex- 
treme northwest edge of a huge, high, rela- 
tively level bowl filled with extinct vol- 
canoes, warm springs, and crater lakes. The 
site followed the course of the Deschutes 
River at an elevation of 4,000 feet, just a 
few miles east of the high peaks of the Cas- 

3= ( 1 ) Memo, Asst CofEngrs for OSW, 30 Aug 
43. 353, ASFTC Wood, 7-12-41-1-3-46. (2) Memo, 
Actg C of O&T Br for CG ASF, 8 May 43, sub: 
Output of ERTCs. 320.22, ERTC, Pt. 1. 

" ' ( 1 ) Memo, C of O&T Br for CG ASF, 2 Aug 
43, sub: Transition to 21-Wk Tng Cycle, ERTCs. 
353.01, ERTC, Pt. 1. (2) Memo. McMath for 
Garlington, 2 Aug 43. Wood, 353.01, Scheds, Pro- 
grams, and Directives. (3) Memo, C of O&T Br for 
CG ASF. 4 Aug 43, sub: Transition to 21-Wk Tng 
Cycle, ERTCs. 353.01, ERTC, Pt. 1. 

( 1 ) Memo, G-3 for CGs ASF AGF, 7 Jul 43, 
sub: RTCs, with Incl, Readjusted Capacities of 
ASF RTCs— 21-Wk Cycle. 320.2, RTCs (S). (2) 
Ltr, G-3 to CG ASF, 29 Jul 43, sub: Misasgmt 
of Specs. 220.63, Pt. 2. (3) Tng of Repls, Annex I. 
(4) Hq MDW, Notes on ASF Tng Conf, Camp 
Lee, Va., 20 Oct 43. EHD files. 



cade mountains. It consisted of a natural 
open meadow of shallow volcanic soil, and 
a logged-over area of second-growth pine. 3 '" 1 

This site had definite advantages. Its 
western location cut down the time needed 
by personnel from that section of the coun- 
try for furloughs and other processing. The 
eastern slope of the Cascade Range was cool 
and dry, without the sweltering summer 
heat of Belvoir and Wood. The installation 
was entirely new. There was no military 
post or camp at the site and none other than 
the center was established thereafter. In the 
year of Camp Abbot's existence, from May 
1943 to June 1944, it had no other function 
than to serve as an Engineer center, with the 
same administrative personnel for both 
center and post. Full advantage could be 
taken of the mistakes made at Belvoir and 
Wood in the location and distribution of 
buildings and training areas without any 
concession to the needs of other training 
groups or post complement. 3<! 

In spite of the obvious attractions and po- 
tential advantages of such a site, many of 
its drawbacks were apparent from the be- 
ginning. It was even more isolated than 
Wood. Although it was directly on the 
Oregon Trunk Line of the Great Northern 
Railroad, it was over 150 miles from any 
main east-west track and could not expect 
main line service. The few large cities of the 
state were over a hundred miles away, al- 
most twice that distance around the moun- 
tains by rail. The nearest town, some eight 
miles away, had a population of only 1 0,000. 
Deschutes County, excluding its two small 
towns, had about two people for each square 
mile. Local sources for training supplies 
were practically nonexistent. Supplies and 
fuel had to be shipped in to the camp from 
a distance, at high cost, and subject to the 
uncertainties of winter mountain weather. 

The distance of this site from any established 
Engineer installation made a disproportion- 
ately large maintenance staff necessary'. 
There were at first no adequate power lines 
east of the Cascade Range to serve the camp. 
The firing area was miles away from the 
main site, with connecting roads that had 
not been built for heavy military traffic. The 
lava rock which underlay the shallow soil 
of the camp made the laying of sewer and 
water pipes costly and slow. The dryness of 
the region made clouds of volcanic dust a 
constant irritant, summer and winter. 
Drivers of combat vehicles and operators of 
heavy equipment were forced to wear pro- 
tective masks. 37 

Nevertheless, the advantages of the site 
outweighed its defects. Besson, transferred 

Ltr, Portland Dist Engr to CofEngrs, 27 
Nov 42, sub: Desig of ERTC at Bend, Deschutes 
County, Ore., as Camp Abbot. 600.05, Bend, Ore. 

(2) Memo, Somervell for G-4, 8 Jul 41, sub: Site 
for Antiaircraft Firing Center (18,000 Men), Bend, 
with Incl, Memo on Engineering Features of Bend- 
Fort Rock Valley Firing Center, Deschutes and 
Lake Counties, Ore., 7 Jul 41. QM 685, Camp 
Abbot (C-ED). 

Ltr, Adj ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 31 
Dec 42, sub: Proposed Rev of Camp Abbot ERTC 
Layout. Wood, ERTC Bend, Corresp. (2) Memo, 
ASF Mil Tng Div for Dir Mil Tng ASF, 5 Oct 43, 
sub: Inspec of ERTC, Camp Abbot, Ore. 333.1, 
Inspecs, 1 Aug 43-20 Nov 43, CofS Job A 44-21. 

(3) Ltr, C of O&T Br to CSigO, 13 Feb 43, sub: 
Request for Recommended Issue of Photo Equip 
for ERTC, Camp Abbot, Ore. 413.53, ERTC 

" (1) Memo and Incl cited n. 35 (2). (2) Ltr, 
C of O&T Br to C of Sup Div, 16 Jan 43, sub: 
Authority to Purch for New ERTC, Camp Abbot, 
Ore., with Incl, Ltr, Adj ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 
22 Dee 42, sub: Authority to Purch Locally — Camp 
Abbot ERTC. 161.0, ASFTC Abbot. (3) 4th Ind, 
CO ERTC Abbot at Wood to CG SOS, 2 Mar 43, 
on Ltr, Besson to TAG, 10 Feb 43, sub: Suballot 
of Grades and Authorized Strength, Corps of Engrs, 
CASC, Ninth SvC. 320.22, ASFTC Abbot. (4) 
Memo, ExO Equip Br for CG ASF, 23 Jul 43, sub: 
Respirator for Camp Abbot, Ore. 426, ASFTC 



from Wood lo be the first commanding- of- 
ficer of the new center, made a reconnais- 
sance of the site late in February 1943. Ap- 
parently satisfied with the camp at that time, 
he became enthusiastic upon its completion 
in May. He believed it to be "the best camp 
in the entire country. The buildings are 
ideally situated and the facilities will bear 
small improvement , , . ." Camp Abbot 
was "without a doubt destined to be re- 
markable as a replacement training 
center." * 

The combination of increased total ca- 
pacity and lowered requirements allowed 
the Engineers to plan once more for a longer 
training period and to discontinue the 
troublesome five-week battalions, since spe- 
cialist school quotas would be reduced as 
well. On 16 July, OCT, directed the centers 
to give all trainees thirteen weeks of train- 
ing whether they were destined for schools 
or for general replacement. This was in the 
nature of a temporary order, pending a 
decision by the War Department on an even 
longer cycle including seventeen weeks of 
actual training time. The latter program 
was instituted on 15 August, with a transi- 
tion period lasting through December. 
Transfers to specialist schools could be made 
at any time between the sixth and the seven- 
teenth weeks as needed. Engineers at home 
and overseas welcomed the .seventeen-week 
schedule. The centers wanted a simpler or 
3l least a uniform program and overseas 
commanders wanted a more thoroughly 
trained basic replacement. M 

Co!. Edward H, Coe, who had been head 
of the Training Section, OCE, reflected 
somewhat later that "training of specialists 
was over-emphasized to a fault in training 
both officers and men. . . . There is a real 
deficiency in cur supply of specialists, but 
the crying need is and always has been for 

the versatile, balanced engineer soldier who 
can scramble over a bridge, tighten a bolt, 
set a jack, drive a truck, skin a cat, and 
shoot a rifle, all in one night shift." 40 Ac- 
tually the crying need for the first eighteen 
months after Pearl Harbor had been for 
something which could not be secured— 
time, Under this handicap the training of 
the engineer soldier was pieced together to 
meet sudden, unexpected emergencies. Tt 
developed from an oversimplified program 
of basic military instruction to an overcom- 
plicated one dominated by the production 

The Balanced Engineer Replacement 

With supplies and time at last ample and 
with much experience to draw upon, the 
quality of ERTC training should have ap- 
proached the ideal. It did improve, but not 
to the extent anticipated. After the fall of 
1943 manpower shortages supplanted 
equipment shortages in imposing restrictions 
upon the training program. The lengthened 
time for training and a better balance of 
subject matter could not wholly compen- 
sate. From August 1943, when the seven- 
teen-week program went into effect, to June 
1944, when the replacement system ab- 
sorbed both replacement and unit training, 
the three ERTC's produced replacements 
on a reduced scale, within rigid limits de- 
fined by the War Department and by ASF. 

"Ltr, ftcswn to CofEm?™, 22 May 43. 322, 
ERTC Abbot, 

Tl | l) Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs, 19 Jul 43. sub: 
ASF RTCs. 32D.2. RTCs (S). (2) Mst-form, QCE 
to ERTCs Belvoir, Wood, Abbot. 20 Au S 43. 353, 
ETC Brlvoir, Ft. 2: 353, A.SFTC Wood: 353, 
ERTC Abbot. 

*LU, Coe (341st En S r Re S t) to OCE, 27 Feb 
43. 9&».fetyp4 Corps of, Rtmatfcs on Tn K at Engf 



desire at all levels for the most efficient and 
economic use of the dwindling manpower, 
the incidental effect upon training standards 
proved most unfortunate. 41 

Emergency peak needs remained unpre- 
dictable. The time necessary to induct, train, 
and move a replacement overseas under a 
seventeen-week program in a nineteen-week 
cycle could not have been less than six 
months — too long to meet an unexpected 
crisis. In August 1943 ASF devised a plan 
which would create a reserve of trained 
men to meet such emergencies and at the 
same time stabilize administrative work 
loads and cadres. To each of the services 
ASF assigned total trainee capacities, break- 
ing these down into monthly inputs. The 
capacities, including ERTC graduates held 
over awaiting assignment, could be ex- 
ceeded only through the rest of 1943, dur- 
ing the gradual transition period between 
the twelve-week and the seventeen-week 
programs. The monthly inputs were effec- 
tive at once and could not be changed. A 
steady output was mandatory by the end 
of the year, and desirable before that time. 

The Engineers were assigned slightly over 
27 percent of the ASF monthly inputs and 
trainee capacities. The suballotment from 
OCE reduced capacity at Belvoir from 
9,760 to 8,120, Wood from 9,760 to 8,000 
(6,000 white and 2,000 Negro) , and Abbot 
from 6,272 to 5,880. The monthly input to 
Belvoir was set at 1,800, Wood at 1,660 
(1,260 white and 400 Negro), and Abbot 
at 1,240. 42 

The centers were to lengthen or shorten 
the programs of the battalions already in 
training in order to provide as even a 
monthly output as possible during the tran- 
sition period, the remaining months of 1 943. 
But the centers found it impossible to level 
off the output and stay within the author- 

ized capacities. There were too many un- 
controlled sources feeding into them — over- 
shipments from reception centers and re- 
jects from OCS, x^STP, and trade schools. 
Graduates from the ERTC's were at times 
held for over two weeks before being trans- 
ferred. Civilian and service school graduates 
awaiting shipment and physically unfit men 
awaiting further disposition swelled the 
totals. Neither capacities nor outputs could 
be controlled through 1943. 

Although the lower input made the bat- 
talion setup awkward, it was not quite small 
enough to warrant a change to reception 
by companies. To handle the smaller incre- 
ments, Abbot reorganized in early October 
1943 from seven battalions to nine and re- 
duced the number of companies in each 
battalion from four to three. The Wood 
center retained the same nine and a half 
battalions but split the training in four of 
them, starting part of the companies in these 
battalions behind the others as necessary. 
The multiple stages of training resulted in 

" Unless otherwise noted, this section on the 
balanced engineer replacement is based upon: 
(1) 353, ASFTC Wood, 7-12-41-1-3-46 and 5-6- 
41-12-8-42; (2) 354.1, Engr RTC, Tng Div ASF: 

(3) Wood, 333.1, Inspec Rpts by Visiting Offs; 

(4) 333.1, Inspecs, 1 Aug 43-20 Nov 43, GofS 
Job A 44-21; (5) MTP 5-6, 1 Aug 43; (6) 333.1, 
Rpt of Maj Inspecs, ASFTC Belvoir, 1944; (7) 
Hq MDW, Notes on ASF Tng Conf, Camp Lee, 
Va., 20 Oct 43, EHD files; (8) 400.34, ERTC, Pt. 
1, Corresp; (9) Wood, 333.1, Inspecs, Vol. 3; (10) 
Belvoir, 470, Ammunition, Armament, and Similar 
Stores, 1943 ; ( 1 1 ) Belvoir, 354, Camps and Maneu- 
vers, A. P. Hill, 1943; (12) Study, Rotation of Pers, 
prepared by ExO Dir Mil Tng ASF for Fourth ASF 
Tng Conf. Ft. Monmouth, N. J., 15-17 Mar 44, 
P&T Office File, Tng Conf, 15-17 Mar 44, Rotation 
of Pers; (13) 353.15. ERTC Belvoir; (14) 353.15, 
ASFTC Wood; (15) 353.15, ASFTC Abbot. 

" (1) Ltr, TAG to Cs of S-vs, 28 Aug 43, sub: 
ASF RTCs. 353, ETC Belvoir, Pt. 2. (2) 1st Ind on 
above hr, Asst CofEngrs to CGs ERTCs Belvoir, 
Wood, Abbot, 1 Sep 43. 353, ETC Belvoir, Pt. 2; 
320.2, ASFTC Wood; 353, ERTC Abbot. 



a much less economical use of cadre and 
facilities. By late October each of the ERTC 
specialist courses at Wood had six different 
stages of training going on at the same time. 
Belvoir also kept the existing battalion or- 
ganization but tried not to split training. 
The Belvoir plan to receive trainees every 
other week did not coincide with the 
monthly input schedule. Four times out of 
a year a longer interval was necessary be- 
tween trainee shipments. The authorized 
capacity also had to be exceeded frequently, 
and a very tight schedule had to be main- 

Additional complications stemmed from 
the fact that while the regular trainee incre- 
ments arrived on a monthly schedule the 
centers operated on a weekly basis. This 
lack of co-ordination between planning and 
training agencies was resolved in January 
1944 by a new trainee input schedule based 
upon thirteen four-week periods each year 
instead of calendar months. The trainee al- 
lotments for each period were scaled down- 
ward accordingly. The Belvoir input for 
each period was set at 1,661, Wood at 1,532 
(1,163 white and 369 Negro), and Abbot 
at 1,144. 

This downward revision did not prevent 
the continued overproduction caused by the 
irregular number of men received by the 
centers as casuals. In addition, the centers 
were responsible after December 1943 for 
refresher or partial training of men returned 
from overseas, released from deactivated 
units, or declared surplus in station comple- 
ments. The Belvoir center by the end of 
January 1944 estimated its excess for each 
four-week period at 200 men. 43 

With the invasion of Europe imminent, 
replacement estimates climbed sharply 
within a few weeks. On 6 March 1944 an- 
other revision raised the trainee inputs for 

each period and returned the maximum 
capacities to previous levels at Belvoir and 
Wood. Abbot remained about the same. 
The input for each four-week period at both 
Belvoir and Wood was set at 1,900 (1,300 
white and 600 Negro at Wood), Abbot 
1,100. The trainee capacity at Belvoir was 
raised to 9,750, that at Wood to 9,875, 
while that at Abbot was lowered to 5,775. 
Although the higher number of trainees at 
the centers should have simplified the organ- 
ization once more, it placed an immediate 
increased load upon reduced cadres. The 
new figures were as inflexible as before. Ap- 
parently the desire for a uniform flow of 
trainees from induction to replacement out- 
weighed the very real training difficulties 
which this system imposed. 44 

The program developed for the longer 
training period in August 1943 struck a 
balance between the production of special- 
ists and versatile engineer soldiers. "The 
program provides a uniform amount of mili- 
tary, tactical and technical training during 
and in addition to the training of the soldier 
in his specialty," observed Gorlinski. "This 
training is considered the minimum amount 
necessary to make an engineer soldier as well 
as a specialist out of the trainee. It follows 
recommendations from all theaters of opera- 
tions which emphasize that, while training 

11 ( 1 ) Ltr, ERTC Wood to CofEngrs, 1 Oct 43, 
sub: Maximum Authorized Trainee Capacity, with 
2d Ind, AC O&T Br to CG ASF, 1 1 Oct 43. 320.2, 
ASFTC Wood. (2) 1st Ind, 5 Nov 43, on Memo, 
CG Ft. Belvoir for CG ERTC, 29 Oct 43. Belvoir, 
337, Confs, 1943. (3) Ltr, CG ERTC Belvoir to 
CofEngrs, 15 Nov 43, suit: Request for Permission 
to Exceed Authorized Trainee Capacity. 353, 
ASFTC Belvoir, Pt. 2. (4) Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs, 4 
Jan 44, sub: Intake of Pers at RTCs. 352.15, 
ERTC, Pt. 1. (5) ASF Cir 172, 31 Dec 43. 

14 (1) ASF Cir 66, 6 Mar 44. (2) Memo for 
Record, 15 Mar 44, sub: Reduction in Operating 
Pers at Ft. Belvoir, Va. P&T Div file, Engr Sch 



train Engineer enlisted specialists, 1942. 

in a specialty is desirable it should not and 
cannot take the place of a thorough train- 
ing in military, tactical and technical 
subjects." i: ' 

All battalions which filled after August 
1943 began on the revised seventeen-week 
schedule. Basic military training increased 
from five to six weeks and basic technical 
training from seven to eight weeks. Special- 
ists in training at the ERTCs received their 
instruction after the first six weeks of mili- 
tary training and during the eight weeks in 
which the rest of the trainees were learning 
basic engineer tasks. In the last three weeks 
of the seventeen, all of the trainees were 
given a period of team training under field 
conditions. 4(i 

Since by this time the critical shortage of 
technicians had been overcome, most of the 
candidates for specialist schools received 

the full seventeen weeks of training. The 
reduction in the demand for specialists coin- 
cided with a similar falling off in require- 
ments for officers from OCS and a conse- 
quent opening up of additional facilities 
for enlisted men at Fort Belvoir. The im- 
mediate result was a sharp curtailment in 
the use of civilian schools and a rise in the 
number of courses and in the enrollment 
of enlisted specialist candidates at the En- 
gineer School. 

The first cut was in Army Air Forces 
specialists. Production for the AAF would 
continue at the rate of 700 per month 

Office Memo, Gorlinski for Sturdevant, 7 Aug 
43, sub: Inspec of ERTC, Camp Abbot, Ore. 353, 
ERTC Abbot. 

MPT 5-6, 1 Aug 43. (2) 4th Ind, Mil 
Tng Div ASF to TAG, 7 Sep 43, on Ltr, ERTC 
Belvoir to TAG, 24 Aug 43, sub: Interpretation 
of Basic Tng. 353, Pt. 23. 



through June 1943, ASF's Training Divi- 
sion notified the Engineers, but beginning 
in July the number would be cut 50 percent. 
The Engineers hastened to terminate con- 
tracts with the two civilian schools which 
had been training electricians and drafts- 
men for AAF units, the University of Ken- 
tucky and the Virginia State College for 
Negroes. By the end of the year only four 
civilian institutions were still serving the 

Enlisted specialists such as draftsmen, sur- 
veyors, and aviation engineer equipment op- 
erators, formerly taught by civilian schools, 
shifted to the Engineer School, and between 
October 1943 and December 1944 the 
school graduated a total of 5,568 men. A 
substantial number of school-trained spe- 
cialists were also produced at the Granite 
City Engineer Depot, which gave instruc- 
tion in the maintenance of mechanical 
equipment, advanced machine shop 
practices, welding, and carburetion and 
ignition. 47 

The ERTC's were allowed considerable 
freedom to experiment with the allocation 
of time and the sequence of subjects to be 
given under the seventeen-week program. A 
certain amount of confusion resulted from 
the fact that they had as guides two MTP's, 
one published by ASF, the other by OCE. 
Although the OCE program was supposed 
to incorporate all of the ASF program the 
two varied, particularly in the spacing of 
the hours for subjects. The Wood center by 
January 1944 had settled for its own version 
of the OCE program. The OCE schedule 
had been carefully arranged to allow for a 
more logical sequence of instruction than 
that of ASF. In some instances ASF had 
prescribed more instruction than time per- 
mitted. Hours for physical conditioning were 

badly spaced in relation to some strenuous 
marches. Transition firing and technique of 
fire were so scheduled that the trainee would 
have to be taught combat range firing be- 
fore having had adequate instruction in 
range estimation, target designation, land- 
scape firing, or combat principles. Both in 
total hours and in the division of time the 
planning of OCE more nearly met engineer 
training requirements than did that of 
ASF. 48 

The allocation of hours to the various 
subjects for the regular engineer replace- 
ments as set forth in the MTP published by 
OCE reflected the change toward realism 
and the in creased emphas is upon physical 
hardening. [See Table 6.) More time was 
allotted to Engineer subjects. New subjects 
which appeared for the first time in the 
published MTP included infiltration, vil- 
lage fighting, hand-to-hand combat, map 
reading, booby traps, and antipersonnel 
mines. Thirty-two hours were given to lay- 
ing mines and gaining passage through mine 
fields. Night operations increased to a total 
of fifty-six hours, all of which were in addi- 
tion to the scheduled forty-eight hours for 
each week. The hours for hygiene and sani- 
tation were increased to include a more 
thorough explanation of malaria prevention 
since by this time many of the major cam- 
paigns of the war were being conducted in 
areas where the control of this disease was 
of prime importance. An orientation course 
intended to integrate the trainee more easily 
into the military system and to keep him in- 

"Engr Enl Specs, pp. 15, 16, 48, 91. 

" (1) 1st Ind, CG ERTC Wood to CG Seventh 
SvC, 7 Jan 44 (basic missing). Wood, 353, Tng 
Gen. (2) Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir to CG Ft. Bel- 
voir, 25 Apr 44, sub: Tng — First Corrective Action 
Rpt. Post Hq, Belvoir, 333.1, Rpt of Maj Inspecs, 
ASFTC, 1944. 



formed on current developments of the war 
added seventeen hours to the program. 49 

A part of the enthusiasm for the new pro- 
gram had been based upon the considera- 
tion that better basic engineer soldiers 
would emerge than those so hastily trained 
in the past. For one thing, the new soldiers 
should shoot better. There was indeed a 
steady improvement in marksmanship 
scores. Monthly qualification reports ex- 
ceeded the ASF 80 percent mark at all three 
centers. Belvoir and Abbot, which trained 
only white troops from August 1943 to June 
1944, rarely fell below a 98 or 99 percent 
rating. Wood trained both white and Negro 
troops and its average was a few points 

Although ammunition and weapons 
shortages were much less severe after the fall 
of 1943, there were some exceptions. In an 
effort to provide engineer units with a more 
effective defense against aerial attack prac- 
tically all of these units were issued the 
.50-caliber machine gun in February 1943, 
but low training priorities and a meager 
ammunition allowance had precluded any 
effective center training in firing the weap- 
on. Additional ranges, more .50-caliber 
guns, and an increased ammunition allow- 
ance improved this situation somewhat bv 
the spring of 1944, although there remained 
a disproportionate amount of .30-caliber 
machine gun training. 50 Flame throwers, 
which were needed in both demolition spe- 
cialist training and in the regular program 
for assault demolitions, continued to be 
scarce. The allowance of antitank rockets 
was never raised above one for every fifty 
men despite the insistence of OGE, after 
pressure from the centers, that each man 
should fire at least one rocket for minimum 
familiarization. As late as October 1943 
there was still little prospect of obtaining 

sufficient captured enemy equipment. At 
that time ASF indicated that absolute es- 
sentials would be provided when possible on 
a priority basis by G-3. By March 1944 
the enemy mines requisitioned by Wood 
still had not arrived. 51 

With the adoption of the longer program 
in August 1943, the centers eliminated the 
twelve-week and five -week battalions and 
simplified the handling of ERTC specialists. 
One company from each of the seventeen- 
week battalions became a specialist com- 
pany. All of the companies had the same 
basic military training during the first six 
weeks. At the end of six weeks the specialist 
company in each battalion reported to the 
ERTC specialist courses for the next eight 
weeks while the rest of the battalion con- 
tinued the regular program of basic techni- 
cal work. At the end of the eight weeks of 
separate work the specialists and the regu- 
lar trainees were brought back together for 
the last three weeks of field training. 52 

The cadre for the specialist company, 
about 5 officers and 22 enlisted men, re- 
mained with the company as assistant in- 
structors during the eight weeks of specialist 
training. This cadre also conducted what 
little military and basic technical instruction 
was given to specialist candidates, 85 hours 

""(l) MTP 5-6, 1 Aug 43. (2) Ltr, AC of 
Office of the Surgeon General to CG ASF, 13 Sep 
43, sub: Malaria Control. 353, Engrs, Mil Tng 
Div ASF. 

Ltr, Adj ERTC Belvoir to CofEngrs, 9 Dec 43, 
sub: Change to T/A 5-1, with 2d Ind, Adj MDW 
to CG ASF, 21 Jan 44. 400.34, ERTC, Pt. 2. 

rl ( 1 ) Ltr, C of War Plans Div to CGs ERTCs 
Wood, Bclvoir, Abbot, 19 Feb 44, sub: Assault 
Demolitions. 353, ERTC, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, AC of 
F.quip Br for CG ASF, 1 Sep 43, sub: Captured 
Enemy Mat for Tng Purposes, with Incls, Lists for 
ERTCs. 386.3, ERTC. 

52 2d Ind, CO ERTC Belvoir to CG Ft. Belvoir, 
29 Mar 44, sub : Course of Instr for USMA Grads 
in 1944 Asgd to Corps of Engrs (basic, 3 Mar 44, 
missing). 352.1 1, Engr Sch, Pt. 17, Corresp. 



for those platoons in the ASF courses and 
120 hours for those in OCE courses. All 
were required to run the infiltration and vil- 
lage fighting courses and spend a few hours 
in map reading, mine laying, drills, physi- 
cal conditioning, and guard duty. 

Twenty-five percent of the replacements 
produced by the three centers between July 
1943 and June 1944 qualified as basic spe- 
cialists. Out of a total of 63,458 trainees 
who completed ERTC training, over 15,600 
were specialists. The Negro battalions, con- 
centrated at Wood, produced one less man 
each than the white battalions in almost all 
of the specialties. Accurate selection and 
assignment of men for specialist training had 
much to do with the high number of quali- 
fications at the end of the courses. Less than 
5 percent of the men sent to specialist com- 
panies at Belvoir proved to be misfits. 

After fourteen weeks of instruction in 
basic and ERTC specialist subjects the 
trainees learned to operate in units and 
realized more fully how each would fit as 
a replacement into a working Engineer or- 
ganization. But since for many the type of 
unit used for these exercises was not the 
type to which they would ultimately belong, 
this phase was an experience in teamwork 
rather than in realistic unit training. The 
trainees lived in the field during this time. 
Bivouac areas were dispersed and camou- 
flaged, foxholes were dug and occupied 
during simulated attacks. Shelter halves 
were the sole protection against the weather. 
Field kitchens prepared the food. Mine lay- 
ing, demolitions, bridge, road, and obstacle 
building were carried out on difficult terrain 
through rain, snow, and penetrating moun- 
tain fog. 

Team training required much more space 
than that needed for the individual instruc- 
tion given previously. Only the Fort Wood 

center had enough land close by. The area 
used at Abbot was quite far from the can- 
tonment. Belvoir had no such area for miles 
around. A part of the A. P. Hill Military 
Reservation to the south of Belvoir was 
open to the Engineers, but since Quarter- 
master and Ordnance troops were already 
in training there the ERTC elected to use 
a part of the Shenandoah National Park in 
the vicinity of Luray, Virginia. The Big 
Meadows site, at an elevation of 3,500 feet, 
offered a rugged and varied training 
ground. Construction and repair of roads, 
trails, and bridges provided valuable ex- 
perience and the permanent nature of the 
work gave the trainees a sense of accom- 
plishment. But the use of the area was 
hedged about with restrictions. Care had 
to be taken to preserve the natural features 
of the park, and to avoid damaging indi- 
vidual objects of geological or historical 
value. Road and bridge construction had 
to be approved in advance by the park 
superintendent. Such work was exhausted 
within a few months and by September 
1944, the Belvoir center was compelled to 
shift this training to the A. P. Hill Military 
Reservation after all. 53 

Although the three weeks of team train- 
ing were authorized on 1 August 1943, sev- 
eral months elapsed before the centers be- 
gan to produce replacements with such 
training. The selection of training sites and 
the procurement of special winter clothing 
and bedding and minimum unit equipment 
took time. Trucks, tractors, tents, tools, 
stoves, air compressors, machine guns, ra- 
dio sets, mine detectors — practically all of 
the operational equipment for the field 

" (1) Belvoir Castle, 22 Oct 43; 24 Mar 44. (2) 
Tng of Repls, Annex I. (3) Interv, Col Louis W. 
Prentiss, 20 Nov 52. (4) Interv, Col Paschal 
Strong, 28 Nov 52. 



units — had to be added to the existing cen- 
ter allowances, which could not be stretched 
to cover this additional demand. Heavy 
mittens, wool mufflers, and sleeping bags 
had to be provided to temper somewhat the 
abrupt change from the previous fourteen 
weeks of training while housed in barracks. 
Wood and Belvoir did not give their first 
team training until early October and Abbot 
not until December. 54 

More time and equipment and the in- 
troduction of realistic field exercises pro- 
duced a better qualified basic engineer 
soldier, but attempts to insure more effective 
utilization of available manpower gradually 
came to have a detrimental effect upon re- 
placement training. In addition to the nor- 
mal reductions in cadre which accompanied 
the decreased size of the centers during most 
of this period there were continuous cuts in 
the suballotments beyond that point. In Oc- 
tober 1943 ASF determined that training 
installations were overstaffed if the officer 
complement was over 4 percent and the en- 
listed cadre over 18 percent of the trainee 
load. Although intended merely as a starting 
point from which to calculate training needs 
according to the amount of technical train- 
ing given at the various centers, the sub- 
allotments to the Engineer centers from the 
service commands soon pointed to this yard- 
stick as an absolute standard of efficiency. 
Less than a month after these percentages 
were set down both Wood and Belvoir 
warned that the quality of training had been 
impaired as a result of cadre shortages. For 
months thereafter the Wood ERTC tried 
without success to get permission from the 
Seventh Service Command to reorganize 
into fewer and larger companies in order 
to have enough cadres for each unit. By 
the middle of March 1944 Belvoir indi- 
cated that inferior training had resulted 

from the repeated cuts and that any further 
cadre decreases would entail reductions in 
training activities. In line with the general 
findings of the ASF staff that the smaller 
centers could be operated more economi- 
cally than the larger ones, the Abbot center 
offered little objection to the reductions. A 
work load study completed by ASF in 
March 1944 placed the Engineer centers 
fairly high upon the efficiency list, the Wood 
center being the only one that was out of 
line to any extent. Of the sixteen ASF 
centers, Abbot, Belvoir, and Wood placed 
fifth, sixth, and eighth, respectively. Al- 
though the study indicated that the Wood 
ERTC was overstaffed, ASF recognized 
that a proportion of cadre above the yard- 
stick was necessary since most of the instruc- 
tion of substandard Engineer trainees was 
done there. The necessity for further re- 
ductions at all centers was emphasized. 55 

Such a work load study measured only 
the numerical proportion of cadre to 
trainees. It did not take into consideration 
the changing quality of the instructors at the 
centers. If an experienced and capable cadre 
could have been kept throughout this pe- 
riod, a smaller number of people might well 
have done a comparable job. It was during 
this same period of reductions, however, 
that other economy measures for the use of 
manpower began to drain from the ERTC's 
the very people who might have been able 

54 Ltr, ExO ERTC Belvoir to CG MDW, 24 Sep 
43, sub: Special Equip for Trps During Unit Tng 
in Shenandoah National Park. Belvoir, 475, Equip 
of Trps, 1943. 

M ( 1 ) Memo, CG Ft. Belvoir for CG ERTC Bel- 
voir, 29 Oct 43, with 1st Ind, 5 Nov 43. Belvoir, 
337, Confs, 1943. (2) Tel Conv, Dir Tng Div 
Seventh SvC to CG ERTC Wood, 5 Feb 44. Wood, 
311.3, Summary of Tel Convs, 1944. (3) Work 
Load Studies, prepared by Office Dir Mil Tng 
ASF for Fourth ASF Tng Conf, Ft. Monmouth, 
15-17 Mar 44. P&T Div file, Tng Conf, 15-17 
Mar 44, Overhead — Work Load Studies. 



to handle the increased work load. Late in 
1943 the War Department became con- 
cerned over the number of men qualified for 
overseas duty who were serving in training 
positions in the United States. These men 
should be at the battle fronts. Accordingly 
on 8 December 1943, ASF directed that 
qualified officers and enlisted men who had 
served for eighteen months or longer in 
training assignments be released as soon as 
understudies could be prepared for their 

An even more stringent rotation policy 
for enlisted personnel was introduced on 24 
January 1944 upon the orders of Lt. Gen. 
Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff. 
Physically qualified men under thirty-five 
years of age who had been in the Army for 
a year without overseas duty had to be re- 
assigned by 30 June 1944 to units slated for 
overseas movement. These enlisted trainers 
or other overhead personnel were to be re- 
placed by men over thirty-five, the physi- 
cally handicapped, those with less than 
twelve months service, returned veterans, 
and wherever feasible by Wacs and civil- 
ians. 56 Few positions at replacement centers 
could be filled by Wacs or civilians. The 
physical toughening which had been intro- 
duced into all phases of the training pro- 
gram required physically fit trainers and 
made the selection and use of physically 
handicapped and older men a difficult mat- 
ter. Brig. Gen. Creswell Garlington, com- 
mander of the Wood center, warned that 
"the men (and officers for that matter) who 
participate personally with the trainees in 
the training program, must be men of great 
stamina and a high degree of physical fit- 
ness. If they are not, we will not be able 
to maintain the training standards set for 
us by the ASF itself." 57 Men with less than 
twelve months service were inadequate sub- 

stitutes for men who had been in the Army 
for several years. The obvious answer was 
more veterans. One of the avowed aims of 
the rotation system was to channel a sub- 
stantial number of men with combat experi- 
ence into training positions. Unfortu- 
nately, combat experience alone had little 
to do with a man's ability to instruct others, 
and men of recognized teaching ability could 
not be requisitioned from overseas. Selec- 
tions had to be made from those sent back 
through the normal operation of the rota- 
tion system, and many were not desirable 
cadre material. Shortly after the new policy 
went into effect Garlington observed that 
"the majority of replacements from overseas 
received to date have been either physically, 
mentally, or emotionally unfit to stand the 
rigors of the training program." 58 The Mili- 
tary Personnel Branch of OCE agreed that 
few officers returned through rotation were 
qualified for assignments in training staffs. 59 
In the opinion of Col. Louis W. Prentiss, 
executive officer for the Military Training 
Division of ASF and formerly executive offi- 
cer of the ERTC at Belvoir, the explana- 
tion for this was simple : 

The driblets which have been coming back 
up to now have not given any promise of 
being good trainer material for the reason 
that there has been a tendency upon the part 
of the theater commanders to send back many 
of the border-line cases, which they could get 
rid of through no other means. The reaction in 
the theaters to such tactics has been as might 
be expected; the men, learning that they 
could return to the United States only by 
doing an indifferent job, began to do an in- 
different job, and the theater commander, 

sr 'ASF Cirs 143, 8 Dec 43, and 26, 24 Jan 44. 
5 ' Ltr, CG ERTC Wood to CG Seventh SvC, 2 
Feb 44. Wood, 312, Gen Garlington's Corresp file. 
158 Ibid. 

""Rpts, Mil Pers Br, 15 Jan 44; 15 Feb 44. 020, 
Engrs Office C of, Pt. 14. 



perforce, had to revise the standard for those 
eligible for rotation. Consequently we expect 
to see better material coming back in the 

The Engineers were not required to give 
up all their experienced instructors. On 25 
February 1944 ASF exempted from im- 
mediate reassignment those instructors 
whose duties were of a highly technical na- 
ture and for whom there were no adequate 
replacements. 61 As a result, the quality of 
Engineer technical training showed less de- 
terioration than did basic military training. 
By the spring of 1944 basic military train- 
ing at both Belvoir and Wood was badly 
disorganized. Inspection teams reported in- 
adequate supervision, lack of correlation of 
subject matter, wasted time, poorly handled 
equipment, and slavish dependence upon 
the letter of the lesson plans. The quality 
of basic military training at Belvoir had de- 
teriorated below the standards of compara- 
ble training establishments and that at 
Wood was unsatisfactory. The quality of the 
cadre at Belvoir was so poor that the total 
number of training hours had to be cut back 
in order to give the cadre more time for 
preparation. The same reasoning which del- 
egated nonstandard equipment to the cen- 
ters during the period of materiel shortages 
operated during the period of personnel 
shortages to reduce the number of capable 
and experienced instructors. Personnel 
restrictions had brought about a curious 
paradox. The quality of basic instruction 
declined during a period in which all phases 
of training should have improved. 

The training of engineer replacements 
under ideal conditions was first prevented by 
limitations of time, then by the allocation 
of used equipment to the centers, then by 
administrative restrictions and personnel 
shortages. That overseas theaters had first 

call upon the experienced and the skilled 
and upon the best in equipment there can 
be no doubt. But those who believed that 
training centers staffed with inexperienced 
instructors and nonstandard equipment 
could supply men who would run this equip- 
ment efficiently were fooling themselves. 
Standard arms and equipment might well 
have repaid several times over in increased 
operating efficiency, less deadlining of ma- 
chinery, and decreased maintenance. An 
adequate and early rotation system could 
have maintained both combat proficiency 
and training efficiency. Planners showed 
scant realization of or regard for the degree 
of disruption which resulted from what were 
undoubtedly considered minor changes or 
restrictions. Lack of co-ordination among 
the agencies responsible for training created 
unnecessary confusion. Although training 
doctrine was developed by the Chief of En- 
gineers, the conduct of training of all ASF 
replacement centers, including the ERTC's, 
became the responsibility of the service 
commands, and in the case of Belvoir, the 
Military District of Washington. Different 
interpretations by these three commands 
could disrupt the uniformity of training de- 
sired by all. But such conditions were only 
additional manifestations of the basic War 
Department attitude which mistakenly 
relegated replacement training to a rela- 
tively unimportant place as revealed by the 
low priorities and lack of a definite program 
to provide adequate instructors. 

With the exception of basic training the 
over-all quality of engineer replacements 
show r ed steady improvement. Facilities were 
gradually expanded; equipment increased. 

m Study, Rotation of Pers, prepared by ExO Dir 
Mil Tng ASF for Fourth ASF Tng Conf, Ft. Mon- 
mouth, 15-17 Mar 44. P&T Div file, Tng Conf, 
15-17 Mar 44, Rotation of Pers. 

B1 ASFCir58, 25 Feb 44. 



Each center showed remarkable ingenuity 
in developing its own training aids and 
making the best use of materials at hand. 
The introduction of more realistic instruc- 
tion provided the trainee with more useful 
information as well as a better physical and 
psychological preparation for his immediate 
future environment, improving his chances 
for survival and the performance of his mis- 
sion. The production of specialists multi- 
plied. Between May 1941 and June 1944 
the ERTC's produced some 40,874 special- 
ists out of a total of 216,662 men. The 
longer training time produced such a su- 
perior nonspecialist engineer replacement 

that he was given a special SSN designation 
so that he would not be confused with the 
basics from other branches, many of whom 
received only six weeks of training. From a 
preponderance of common military subjects, 
course content shifted until a balance was 
struck between instruction common to every 
enlisted man and the infusion of technical 
knowledge which was the distinguishing 
mark of the engineer soldier. 62 

"= ( 1 ) Interoffice Memo, Asst Dir Pers Div ERTC 
Wood for Dir Pers Div ERTC Wood, 24 Feb 44. 
353, ASFTCs. (2) Memo, ExO Mil Tng Div ASF 
for Cs of Svs, 15 Apr 44, sub: Rev Loss Rep] Rqmts 
for Jul to Dec 44, with Incl, Repl Rqmts, Engrs. 
320.2, File 2 (S). 


Centralized Unit Training for 
Army Service Forces 

One of the first signs of the emerging im- 
portance of engineer service units after Pearl 
Harbor was the organization and training 
of over sixteen thousand men for construc- 
tion in the Middle East and in the United 
Kingdom. 1 Only a fraction of this number 
went to the Middle East. Instead, most of 
these men were absorbed into the broaden- 
ing stream of service unit activations which 
followed the publication of the troop basis 
of July 1942. From mid- 1942 on, prepara- 
tion of service units claimed a large part of 
the Engineers' training effort. Whereas 
AGF and AAF were responsible for engi- 
neer ground force units and engineer avia- 
tion units, the Corps of Engineers itself, un- 
der the general direction of ASF, assumed 
the primary job of developing engineer serv- 
ice units. 

West Camp Claiborne: The Experimental 

The five special service regiments, seven 
general service regiments, and ten dump 
truck companies which the Engineers acti- 
vated for special construction jobs in the 
spring of 1942 were to construct ports, 
roads, railroads, barracks, and shops — jobs 
which required a high proportion of fore- 
men and skilled workers. Since these units 
were needed long before such a highly 
skilled group of men could be trained, the 

War Department allowed the Engineers to 
recruit men under forty-five who had 
civilian experience requisite for the posi- 
tions. Under the assumption that these men 
would be technically qualified for their jobs, 
the units were to have only six weeks of 
basic military training before assignment 
overseas. 2 

In searching for a camp where training 
could begin immediately the Engineers 
found only one site large enough — West 
Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. It was a tem- 
porary field tent camp in rather poor con- 
dition which even after much improvement 
was never considered desirable for training 
engineer units. Large numbers of troops 
were already concentrated in several nearby 
camps, at Polk, Livingston, Beauregard, and 
the main camp at Claiborne, as well as at 
three airfields near Alexandria. Recreational 
facilities at the adjacent towns were over- 
taxed. Training areas were restricted, and 
firing ranges were insufficient. But since the 
Engineers did not intend to give these con- 
struction units any tactical or technical 
training and did not contemplate occupa- 

' See above , [pp, 143-44.] 

3 Unless otherwise cited, this section on the Clai- 
borne PEOC is based upon: (1 ) 322, Engrs Corps 
of, Activation of Constr Units, Folders 1 and 2 
(S); (2) 353, ASFTC Claiborne, Pt. 1; (3) 322, 
ASFTC Claiborne; (4) 320.2, ASFTC Claiborne; 
(5) 333.1, ASFTC Claiborne; (6) 319.1, ASF 
Engr Units, Pt. 1. 



BRIG. GEN. JOHN W. N. SCHULZ, seated next to driver, and members of his staff, 
West Camp Claiborne, La,, 1942. 

tion of the camp for more than four months, 
the site did not have to be ideal. 

West Claiborne was located approxi- 
mately sixteen miles southwest of Alexandria 
in the rolling cutover timber land of the 
Kisatchie National Forest. It lay about two 
and a half miles from the main camp and 
occupied very rough and broken ground 
on the south slope of a ridge cut by several 
drainage valleys. At the time the Engineers 
decided to move in, during March 1942, 
it presented a desolate picture of bare tent 
frames, a few small administrative and mess 
buildings with felt paper siding and no 
flooring, pit latrines, and an open drainage 
sewage system. Gravel roads connected the 
main parts of the camp but there were no 

sidewalks or duckboards. Tents and build- 
ings had been laid out on a set plan without 
reference to local topography and part of the 
camp was subject to frequent flooding by 
surface water. The impervious red clay 
underlying the thin sandy topsoil served 
when wet to form a thick plastic mass in 
which vehicles mired to the axles whenever 
they left a prepared roadbed. 3 

Brig. Gen. John W. N. Schulz, who was 
to supervise the training of the units at Clai- 

'(1) Completion Rpt 1942, West Camp Clai- 
borne No. 4, 15 Jun 42, p. 1. {2) Ltr, Col W. N. 
Taylor to TIG, 1 2 Feb 42, sub : Special Investiga- 
tion of Constr Activities of Temporary Tent Camp 
at Camp Claiborne, La. 652, Claiborne, Vol. 3. 
(3) Memo, Robins for Schulz, 4 Apr 42, sub: Addi- 
tional Constr West Camp Claiborne, La. Same file. 



borne, came from Under Secretary of War 
Patterson's office, where he had served as 
Director of Purchases and Contracts. In 
March 1942, Schulz made a preliminary 
survey of the Claiborne site during several 
days of constant rain. In a depressed mood 
he wrote the Chief of Engineers detailing 
the many deficiencies of the camp, conclud- 
ing that "the use of west Camp Claiborne 
for the Organization Center is not desirable 
if it can be avoided .... [but] there ap- 
pears to be no alternative . . . ." He pre- 
dicted gloomily that "this will mean, almost 
certainly . . . that this camp, once used, 
will be continued in permanent, or at least 
frequent, intermittent use . . . ." 4 His 
prediction proved correct. Within a few 
months West Camp Claiborne developed 
into the first Engineer Unit Training Cen- 
ter. General Schulz remained in command 
until October 1943. 5 

To supervise the training of these units 
through mid-July, Schulz set up a Provi- 
sional Engineer Organization Center 
(PEOC) on 1 April. The Claiborne PEOC 
consisted of a small group of fourteen officers 
selected from the pool under the control 
of the Chief of Engineers and sixty-three 
enlisted men from the ERTC's at Belvoir 
and Wood. In the tactical units themselves 
commanders of all but two of the twelve 
regiments were Engineer officers with pre- 
vious military experience in the Regular 
Army, National Guard, or Engineer Re- 
serve. Each regiment had two former ser- 
geants; one served as adjutant and the other 
as supply officer. The rest of the unit officers 
were commissioned from civilian life on the 
basis of their construction experience. Regi- 
mental commanders recruited many of them 
personally. District Engineers recommended 
some. OCE selected still others from appli- 

cations on file. A trucking association fur- 
nished officers for a number of the dump 
truck companies. Cadres, chosen largely 
from men found surplus in grade upon the 
triangulation of square divisions, came from 
the Second and Third Armies. The poor 
quality of the cadres so obtained would in- 
dicate that the divisions disposed of many 
undesirables in this manner. Realizing that 
the draft would fail to produce the 10,000 
specialists required for these units, the En- 
gineers conducted an intensive campaign 
for voluntary enlistments between 1 April 
and 20 May. In an attempt to get the right 
proportion in each specialty, reception 
centers all over the country screened these 
fillers for assignment to Claiborne.* 

Cadres and fillers were supposed to arrive 
at Claiborne in six increments, one week 
apart, the cadres one week ahead of their 
respective fillers. The normal weekly incre- 
ment was to be two regiments and two 
dump truck companies. If no other units 
had been ordered in, the center would have 
built up to a peak load in the latter part 
of May and dwindled thereafter. Cadres 
for the first units arrived on schedule on 15 
April, fillers a week later. 

Training under a special six-week MTP, 
derived from the eight-week program then 
in effect at the ERTC's, began on 27 April. 
Since the men were supposed to be tech- 
nically competent already, this MTP went 

'Memo, Schulz for CofEngrs, 25 Mar 42, sub: 
Engr Orgn Center for Constr Regts and Dump 
Truck Cos. 322, Engrs Corps of (S). 

5 GO 32, Camp Claiborne, 20 Oct 43. EHD file, 
EUTC Orders, 1942-44. 

' (1) GO 12, OCE, 1 Apr 42. (2) List of COs 
Constr Regts, 12 Mar 42. 322, Engrs Corps of (S). 
(3) Ltr, TAG to CGs, Second, Third Armies, SOS, 
and Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Corps 
Areas, 24 Mar 42, sub: Activation of Engr Units 
Required for Militarization of Overseas Projects. 
210.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 21. 



even further than the abbreviated ERTC 
program in eliminating Engineer subjects : 7 


Eight Weeks Six Weeks 
Total 352 244 

Basic 92 90 


Combat 86 80 

Engineer 102 36 

Tactical 40 14 

Open time 32 24 

With its emphasis entirely upon the produc- 
tion of an individually trained soldier, this 
program could scarcely be called unit train- 
ing. It included no practical training in en- 
gineer tasks. There was no provision for 
building roads, bridges, or obstacles, no time 
allowed for demonstrations in rigging or 
general construction. There were no night 
operations, and there was but a minimum of 
tactical teamwork. The time given to basic 
military subjects was almost equal to that 

Conditions at the PEOC made even this 
simplified program difficult to administer. 
The two officers and eight enlisted men in 
the Training Section proved insufficient for 
the guidance and control of 16,000 men. 
Capable unit officers and enlisted men had 
to be called upon frequently for staff duty. 
The details of actual training were to be 
handled by the unit officers, but except for 
the regimental commanders the unit officers 
had no more military experience than the 
troops. These new officers were not commis- 
sioned on schedule and after commissioning 
had several days of leave before reporting to 
the PEOC. According to the harassed ex- 
ecutive officer they were "fooling around all 
over the country." s After arrival, they had 
to have two weeks of indoctrination before 
assignment to training duty. In the mean- 
time, the bulk of the responsibility fell upon 

a group of forty officers loaned to the center 
from the ERTC's in the latter part of April. 
A few of these ERTC officers ran a school 
for the new unit officers. Others moved 
along from one regiment to another, staying 
only until the incoming unit officers quali- 
fied for duty. Another temporary source of 
experienced trainers was the group of offi- 
cers that brought the cadres to the center, 
some of whom were held as long as four 
weeks before being returned to their home 
stations. The forty officers on temporary as- 
signment began to receive orders to other 
stations by late May, just as the training 
load reached its height. After repeated ap- 
peals from Schulz for a more permanent 
staff, OCE on 1 July finally increased the 
allotment of officers to the PEOC head- 
quarters from fourteen to forty. 

An equally serious obstacle in preparing 
these units for overseas service was the fail- 
ure by the reception centers to provide fillers 
at the right times, in sufficient amounts, and 
with desired skills. Despite the special re- 
cruiting, too few men from the construction 
industry found the prospect of military serv- 
ice attractive. With the military construction 
program approaching its peak, jobs were 
plentiful and working on them was consid- 
ered patriotic. Some corps areas fell short 
of their quotas by several hundred. At the 
end of May six of the units had been forced 
to postpone training a week or more be- 

'(1) MTP — Engr Constr Regts and Dump 
Truck Cos [26 Mar 42], 322, Engrs Corps of, Acti- 
vation of Constr Units, Folder 1 (S). (2) See 
|Table 5. 

"Tel Conv, ExO PEOC to C of O&T Br, 20 
Apr 42. 322, Engrs Corps of, Activation of Constr 
Units, Folder 1 (S). 

n ( 1 ) Ltr, CG PEOC to CofEngrs, 2 Jun 42, sub: 
Offs for EOC, Camp Claiborne, La. 210.3, ASFTC 
Claiborne, Pt. 1. (2) Ltr, C of Mil Pers Br to 
CG PEOC, 1 Jul 42, sub: Allot of Offs, AUS. 
320.21, ASFTC Claiborne. 



cause of delays in receiving fillers. Dump 
truck companies had not filled at the same 
time as the regiments with which they were 
to operate. The first ten regiments and cor- 
responding dump truck companies had re- 
ceived only 1,535 of the 5,750 specialists 
needed in some seventeen categories. The 
same units contained a surplus of 2,41 3 non- 
specialists. Schulz, perturbed lest the units 
reflect no credit upon the center or the Engi- 
neers, wrote to Sturdevant in early May: 

I am deeply concerned about the matter 
since the regiments at Claiborne will be sup- 
planting contractors' trained employees who 
have been carefully selected at premium pay 
and should be expected to have developed 
construction teams of considerable efficiency. 
The regiments, on the contrary, are untried 
aggregations of individuals selected more or 
less by chance and, at present, lacking many 
of the necessary skills. ... At best the con- 
trast between the contractor's performance 
and the regiment's may be expected to be 
unfavorable until they have developed some 
team play. . . . Any delays or falling off in 
production will subject the Corps and the 
regimental commanders to severe criticism. 10 

The specialist shortage reached 3,126 by 
mid-July. Withdrawal of OCS candidates 
and cadres for future units, sickness, and 
physical disqualifications further depleted 
the ranks. Such losses became critical when 
the first few units began to move out. Since 
they were required to leave at full strength, 
the center resorted to transferring men from 
later units to fill the earlier ones. By the 
end of July, when all twelve should have 
completed basic training, the enlisted com- 
plement of the last regiment numbered only 
250 men. The entire unit had to be refilled 
and retrained. 

Equipment and training areas were no 
more adequate than cadres and fillers. 
Equipment was supposed to arrive by 10 
April and training areas were to be ready 

by the end of that month. However, publi- 
cations such as field and training manuals, 
Army regulations, and War Department cir- 
culars could not be obtained in any quantity 
until July. Office supplies had to be bor- 
rowed for weeks. Shelter halves, packs, web 
equipment, and clothing were scarce for 
months. Despite the fact that the main em- 
phasis was to be placed upon basic mili- 
tary training, no rifles appeared. In despera- 
tion, the center borrowed 1,600 Enfields 
from the main camp, but this number was 
insufficient for both general training and 
range work and the whole arrangement was 
unsatisfactory since the rifles were subject 
to recall at any time. The center at first used 
the crowded 100-target range at the main 
post during rigidly scheduled time allot- 
ments. The construction of 200 additional 
targets and the acquisition of 7,216 Spring- 
fields and Enfields in mid-July seemed a 
vast improvement to the officers at West 
Claiborne, but they continued to press for 
the authorized allotment of 11,459 Mi's 
and carbines and for machine guns. The 
lack of suitable inclosed buildings for as- 
sembly and instruction further handicapped 
training. The only place to show training 
films during daylight hours was at the main 
camp theater, two and a half miles away. 

Although it was soon apparent that most 
of the men classified as truck drivers needed 
specific instruction and experience in driv- 
ing and maintaining military vehicles, the 
urgent administrative needs for the few ve- 
hicles on hand precluded their use for this 
purpose. When the first two regiments and 
dump truck companies began to fill in late 
April, the center had only two trucks for 
over 2,000 men — less than enough to haul 

I0 Ltr, CG EOC Claiborne to ACofEngrs, 8 May 
42. 322, Engrs Corps of, Activation of Constr Units, 
Folder 2. (S). 



rations. Again the center resorted to borrow- 
ing, and finally a few trucks were issued to 
the units ; yet there were still none for train- 
ing drivers by mid-May when another crisis 
developed. Just as the PEOC approached 
its peak strength, the borrowed trucks had 
to be returned. There remained but twenty- 
five trucks for 16,000 men. A constant 
shuttle had to be maintained to get the in- 
coming men and baggage from the troop 
trains. Perishable foodstuffs lay neglected. 
The hauling of rubbish and nonfood gar- 
bage was virtually abandoned. Sufficient 
trucks for pickup and delivery arrived in 
June, but none were forthcoming for driver 
instruction on the low priorities assigned. 
Schulz was convinced that unless driver 
training could be given the units would 
experience difficulty even in such a funda- 
mental maneuver as moving vehicles from 
shipside. Two sets of heavy construction ma- 
chinery — one for a general service and one 
for a special service regiment — arrived to- 
ward the end of April. The amount received 
sufficed to familiarize experienced construc- 
tion men with the particular makes and 
models they would be using overseas and 
provided an opportunity to turn some of 
the men with no construction background 
into construction machinery operators. 11 

This attempt to add specialist training to 
an already crowded six-week program was 
indicative of the spirit of the PEOC. The 
small, overworked, but determined staff put 
in long hours of planning and supervision 
to overcome the worst effects of the primi- 
tive housing conditions, the poor quality of 
cadres, the military inexperience of the unit 
officers, the shortage of technically trained 
fillers, and insufficient weapons and equip- 
ment. Yet, had it not been for the high qual- 
ity and responsible attitudes of the fillers, the 
obstacles might still have been overwhelm- 

ing. Intelligent, mature, anxious to learn, 
willing to sacrifice much during the brief 
training period, these men maintained a 
healthy outlook and a high sense of mission. 

The decision not to employ these units 
on construction in the Middle East and the 
United Kingdom as originally intended pro- 
vided the necessary time for a more rounded 
program of training. Only the first few of 
the twenty-two units moved out with six 
weeks or less instruction. The majority re- 
mained for twelve weeks or more. In the 
absence of any definite information on when 
the remaining units would leave or where 
they would go, the PEOC staff determined 
upon a decentralized plan of concurrent 
basic military and unit training. Units pre- 
pared their own extended schedules based 
on the construction projects assigned to 
them and their own knowledge of their basic 
military deficiencies. Construction of a per- 
manent nature provided valuable experi- 
ence in organization and teamwork for any 
eventual employment. 

Beginning early in June the regiments 
bivouacked in the field from one to three 
weeks on a variety of projects. Two regi- 
ments and four dump truck companies at a 
time worked on the Claiborne-Polk Mili- 
tary Railroad then being constructed be- 
tween these two camps. One regiment alone 
laid 22 miles of ties and rails on this road, 
graded part of the hospital grounds and 
parade field, built 1 .5 miles of road includ- 
ing two highway bridges, repaired an addi- 
tional 7.1 miles of road, and built an office 
building complete with wash rooms and sep- 

" ( 1 ) Memo, C of O&T Br for C of Proc and 
Distr SOS, 22 May 42, sub: Shortage of Motor 
Vehicles and Ord Materiel at EOC Camp Clai- 
borne, La. 451.2, ASFTC Claiborne. (2) 1st Ind, 
30 May 42, on Memo, ExO PEOC for CofEngrs, 
20 May 42, sub: Equip for Units, EOC Camp 
Claiborne. 413.8, ASFTC Claiborne. 



tic system for the PEOC headquarters. On 
smaller tasks the regiments rotated battal- 
ions in the field while continuing supple- 
mentary basic military training for those at 
the camp. The additional time also allowed 
the units to bring the PEOC-trained con- 
struction machinery operators to a higher 
standard of performance through on-the- 
job training. Highly skilled operators from 
two regiments acted as instructors and 
supervisors of projects undertaken by less 
qualified regiments. The camp itself profited 
much from such projects. In addition to the 
rifle range, office building, and parade 
ground, the regiments constructed two ob- 
stacle courses and developed areas for train- 
ing in field fortifications, antitank obstacles, 

camouflage, and demolitions in preparation 
for the more extensive engineer training to 
be given in the future. Dump truck com- 
panies lived in the field with the regiments 
to which they were attached and to the re- 
lief of Schulz received excellent driving ex- 
perience and convoy practice hauling ties, 
rails, and ballast for railroad construction, 
materials for bridging, and dirt for roads 
and grading projects. Even though in the 
end the regiments and dump truck com- 
panies received much more practical train- 
ing than had been planned, equipment 
shortages and topography imposed limita- 
tions. The two sets of construction machin- 
ery which had been adequate for familiari- 
zation were not sufficient for the unit train- 


ing of so many regiments. No instruction in 
quarrying could be given in a country with- 
out rock nor could there be fixed or floating 
dock construction in the immediate area, 
which had no large bodies of water or 
streams of any size. 1 " 

West Camp Claiborne: The Permanent 

Despite the unfavorable features of West 
Camp Claiborne, the Engineers became 
convinced that they had found the way to 
provide efficient unit training. A concentra- 
tion of like units at one place made a small 
allowance of scarce equipment serve numer- 
ous units at the same time. Moreover, many 
of the ASF engineer units being activated in 
1942 had officers drawn directly from com- 
parable civilian positions but who had no 
knowledge of military procedures. A group- 
ing of such units under the supervision of 
a few capable Engineer officers would pro- 
vide uniform training with the least possible 
diversion of seasoned officers from troop 
duty. 13 

In June 1942, when the future of the 
center beyond 15 July was still in doubt, 
Schulz, despite his earlier misgivings, began 
to emphasize to OCE the importance of re- 
taining the center for subsequent units. On 
20 June O&T assured him that SOS was 
supporting the center against the opposition 
of AGF which also wanted the space. The 
final decision was in the hands of G-3 who 
seemed favorably inclined toward the Engi- 
neers. At any rate, OCE had authority 
to activate two more general service regi- 
ments at Claiborne under the same arrange- 
ments as before and it seemed likely that 
the center would not be closed on 15 Julv. 
Schulz, dissatisfied with this temporary re- 
prieve, insisted that the provisional stage 

should not be prolonged indefinitely. By 29 
June the final decision had been made. The 
Engineers were to retain West Camp Clai- 
borne as a permanent Engineer Unit Train- 
ing Center ( EUTC ) , the pioneer unit train- 
ing center in all the Army. Between July 
1942 and the summer of 1943, when two 
new EUTC's at Camp Ellis, Illinois, and 
Camp Sutton, North Carolina, opened, all 
but a small fraction of ASF engineer units 
trained at Claiborne. As many as 31,000 
men trained there at one time during the 
peak training period in the fall of 1 943 and 
the average number in training each month 
during 1943 and 1944 was 23,000 and 
16,500, respectively. In July 1942 the Engi- 
neers began to concentrate at Claiborne 
those units which required quantities of 
heavy equipment. The bulk of the many 
general service regiments and dump truck 
companies and all of the few special service 
regiments trained there. Heavy shop com- 
panies, base equipment companies, foundry 

1J (1) Ltr, Adj PEOC to CofEngrs, 19 Jul 42, 
sub: Status of Tng. 319.1, ASF Engr Units, Pt. 1. 
(2) Ltr, Adj PEOC to CofEngrs, 25 Jul 42, sub: 
Status of Tng, Same file. 

13 With exceptions hereafter noted, this section 
on the permanent center is based upon: (1) 353, 
ASFTC Claiborne, Pts. 1, 2: (2) 320.2, ASFTC 
Claiborne; (3) 320.21, ASFTC Claiborne; (4) 
353, ASFTC Claiborne, Tng Offs for Units, Bulky; 
(5) 322, ASFTC Claiborne; (6) 330.13, Claiborne; 
(7) 413.44, ASFTC Claiborne; (8) 475, ASFTC 
Claiborne: (9) 353.15, ASFTC Claiborne; (10) 
353, Engr Heavy Shop Units, Claiborne, Bulky; 
(11) 413.8, ASFTC Claiborne; (12) P&T Div file, 
Forestry Units; (13) Rpt, Col E. G. Paules, Engr 
Member WD Obsvr's Bd to CofEngrs, 16 Feb 44, 
sub: ETO Engr Obsvr's Rpt 2, 370.2, ETO (S) : 
(14) Ltr, Adj EUTC to CofEngrs, 16 Dec 42, sub: 
Capacity of EUTC, with Incl ?, Units in Tng as of 
Midnight 15-16 Dec 42, 353, Claiborne (C) ; (15) 
Memo, Brotherton for Gorlinski, 12 May 43, sub: 
School Tng at the EUTC, Camp Claiborne, La., 
P&T Div file, Inspec— Claiborne ; (16) Unit Train- 
ing in the Corps of Engineers, 1 Jul 39-30 Jun 45, 
MS prepared by Mil Tng Div, OCE (hereafter cited 
as Unit Tng). EHD files. 



detachments, petroleum distribution com- 
panies, and forestry companies, all of which 
needed permanent or semipermanent instal- 
lations of heavy machinery, received in- 
struction there from then on. 

Once in command of a permanent unit 
training center, Schulz tackled the many 
complications accompanying its growth 
from a capacity of 16,000 to 25,000 men. 
He determined he would not run the EUTC 
on the shoestring basis of the PEOC. In 
June 1942 he prepared a T/O for 137 offi- 
cers and 516 enlisted men, apologizing for 
the large size of the new organization only 
to the extent of hoping that it would not 
occasion too much shock and surprise in 
OCE. By mid-September his request had 
been approved and the officers allotted. The 
following month SOS approved a reduced 
enlisted allotment of 414 men. 14 

Meanwhile, Schulz worked out the pro- 
cedures which he felt would best capitalize 
upon the advantages and opportunities in- 
herent in a training center and at the same 
time sustain the continuity of leadership of 
the unit officers. The commanders were 
responsible for the conduct of training with- 
in their own units, x^t the outset, while 
awaiting fillers, unit officers were to prepare 
training schedules, subject to the approval 
of the EUTC Training Division, em- 
phasizing weapons instruction and military 
discipline. Thereafter, the Training Divi- 
sion provided weekly schedules for each 
unit — schedules which showed an hourly 
breakdown of each day by subject, lesson 
number, and training area. Also provided 
were detailed lesson outlines for each sub- 
ject, enough copies for each officer and 
NCO in each unit, including text references, 
lists of films, and a general plan of presen- 
tation. The EUTC staff manufactured 
training aids and distributed them as needed 

from a central warehouse. The center pro- 
vided a supervisor at each of these sites to 
suggest the best use of these aids, to answer 
questions put by the unit officers, and to 
report to S-3 upon the quality of instruc- 
tion. 15 

The number and the variety of units 
made it impossible for Schulz to maintain 
close personal contact with each unit. By 
October 1942 the center contained four regi- 
ments, eight separate battalions, and twenty- 
four companies or detachments, about 
14,000 men in all, with prospects of six 
more regiments and three battalions to be 
activated soon. Since most of the unit of- 
ficers had only a few weeks of military serv- 
ice and needed constant supervision, Schulz 
prepared in early October a decentralized 
organization which grouped the units into 
three training brigades of manageable size. 
OCE was reluctant to present this plan to 
SOS for approval, doubtless because it in- 
cluded a request for three brigadier generals. 

Meanwhile, Schulz took matters into his 
own hands. He placed the diverse small 
units, equal in strength to two general serv- 
ice regiments, in a provisional battalion un- 
der the direction of an officer borrowed from 
one of the general service regiments. At 
the end of October he reorganized his entire 
command. On 1 November he announced 
to Sturdevant that he had taken advantage 
of the assignment of three Regular officers 
to the center to set up provisional training 
brigades and regiments. Around this wind- 
fall of three colonels the center was or- 
ganized into two brigades. All of the regi- 
ments and most of the dump truck 
companies were placed in the first brigade. 

" Ltr, Actg G of O&T Br to GG EOG, 17 Sep 42, 
sub: Table of Pers. P&T Div file, Orgn ASFTCs. 

"Tng Memo 1, EUTC Claiborne, 22 Feb 43. 
EHD file, Tng Memos, Claiborne, 1943-44. 



The second brigade was divided into two 
training regiments, one containing railway 
units, later transferred to the control of the 
Transportation Corps; the other a concen- 
tration of the smaller units in three bat- 
talions. In the first battalion were heavy 
shop companies; in the second, petroleum 
distribution companies and equipment com- 
panies; in the third, fire fighting detach- 
ments, utilities detachments, and depot com- 
panies. The executive officer of the center 
commanded the first brigade, and the three 
new officers the second brigade and the two 
training regiments. 

A week later, Schulz explained his di- 
lemma to his former boss, Under Secretary 
of War Patterson, who was in Louisiana in- 
specting several camps. A few days later 
Patterson, attending an SOS staff confer- 
ence, expressed great satisfaction with the 
Claiborne EUTC. About the same time he 
wrote a note to Reybold commending the 
state of training at the center but strongly 
urging that the EUTC be reorganized into 
two training brigades. The Chief of Engi- 
neers replied that Schulz could set up what- 
ever training groups he pleased, but an allo- 
cation of brigadier generals was out of the 

Despite the fact that by November 1942 
the center had an increased personnel allot- 
ment and a more efficient organization, 
neither development brought permanent 
relief. The new organization depended upon 
the three Regular Army officers assigned to 
units in training and therefore available 
for only thirteen weeks. At the end of this 
time Schulz repeated his request for three 
brigadier generals. In March 1943, the cen- 
ter finally gained a permanent allotment of 
three colonels and was reorganized into 
three brigades. By this time the railway units 
had been removed and more regiments 

added. The three brigades held, respectively, 
thirty-four small units, four Negro regi- 
ments, and eight white regiments. 16 

The 414 enlisted men authorized in Octo- 
ber 1942, although an enormous increase 
over the 63 allotted to the PEOC, was still 
far short of the 516 requested. The center 
was expected to make the 414 suffice with- 
out impressing men from the units for staff 
duty. Troops in training were to train. But 
after a short period of attempting to oper- 
ate within the 414 ceiling, Schulz concluded 
that he could not expect these men to con- 
tinue indefinitely at such a pace. By 1 De- 
cember he succeeded in getting approval 
for 239 additional men. Although this num- 
ber was ample for a time, the continued 
expansion caused the center to resort to the 
same expedient as before. By May 1 943 the 
Training Division alone was using 150 men 
from the units, spreading the loss of training 
by taking men for only a week at a time 
from any one unit. 

In June 1943 an ASF directive on econo- 
mies in manpower caught the center un- 
prepared. ASF assumed that the major 
organizations under its control had 
reached their peak strength, that they were 
well established, and that personnel allot- 
ments were stabilized and adequate. In- 
creases were to be discouraged. Decreases 
were expected everywhere. The directive 
restricted the use of pool officers for staff 
duty and prohibited altogether the use of 
enlisted men from troop units. 17 The 
EUTC was by this time drawing between 
350 and 400 men from each source, in 
addition to the 145 officers and 653 enlist- 
ed men then authorized. 

16 (1) Ltr, CG EUTC to ColEngrs, 9 Oct 42, sub: 
Improved Tng Orgn, EUTC. 210.3, ASFTC Clai- 
borne, Pt. 1. (2) Min. Staff Conf SOS, 1 1 Nov 42, sub: 
Resume of Matters Presented at Staff Conf, 1000, 10 
Nov 42. 337, Staff Confs ASF (S). 

17 ASF Cir 39, 1 1 Jun 43. 



Fortunately, although the Eighth Service 
Command was required to reduce its total 
personnel, the EUTC in July received in- 
creases in quotas to 165 officers and 856 en- 
listed men, and for the first time some civil- 
ian employees. 

The paucity of officers and enlisted men 
allotted to the EUTC during the period of 
greatest expansion from July 1942 to July 
1943 was but one indication of the generally 
bare subsistence level which obtained. Not 
until February 1943 did the conversion of 
tents to hutments begin to catch up with the 
number of men in training. By that time 
there was space for 19,290 men in huts and 
5,668 in tents, with eighteen men in each 
fifteen-man hut and six in each pyramidal 
tent. As at the ERTC's vehicle and equip- 
ment shortages plagued the EUTC during 
most of this time, restricting some important 
phases of training. Because of the manpower 
pinch, fillers were slow in arriving. Never- 
theless, the job was accomplished. The 
leadership of Schulz, the ability of the center 
staff, and the willingness of all concerned to 
put in long hours of planning and working 
eased the growing pains. Most important, 
during this period the center began to give 
real unit training. 

Until July 1942 the training had differed 
little from the abbreviated program of the 
ERTC's. The emphasis had been upon in- 
dividual basic military training. The main 
difference was that at Claiborne the men 
were organized into tactical units under 
their own officers instead of into training 

The change-over to genuine unit training 
came on 25 July 1942 when OCE replaced 
the special six-week program with the regu- 
lar unit training program of thirteen weeks. 
This regular program published in Decem- 
ber 1941, incorporated with little change a 

prewar program for combat engineer units. 
More than half the training period was 
allotted to technical Engineer subjects. 
Most of the subjects were spread throughout 
the whole thirteen weeks, with three major 
concentrations of subject matter. A unit 
started out with a basic period of two weeks. 
A company period of eight weeks and a 
battalion and regimental period of three 
weeks followed. All general construction, all 
technical night operations, most of the tac- 
tical night problems, and all battalion and 
regimental tactical and technical work in 
the field were concentrated in the last three 
weeks. 18 

In the thirteenth week of training each 
regiment had an opportunity to take part 
in a small-scale maneuver. The members 
of the unit were presumed by this time to 
be ready to assume the responsibilities of 
their positions and to demonstrate their abil- 
ity to co-ordinate the many separate lessons 
learned in the past weeks. The center staff 
furnished observers who suggested changes 
in case of gross errors and provided an 
enemy force to simulate combat conditions. 

In a typical unit problem a regiment 
defended a bivouac position. Each regi- 
ment marched with full field equipment to 
the designated area, constructed road- 
blocks, laid dummy mine Fields, and built 
bridges essential to the assumed tactical 
situation. Surveyors and heavy equipment 
operators constructed road approaches 
with materials furnished by other teams 
working nearby gravel pits, and runners 
kept the regimental commander informed 
of all developments. 

To test how well the unit could continue 

18 (1) MTP — Engr Constr Regts and Dump Truck 
Cos [26 Mar 42]. 322, Engrs Corps of, Activation of 
Constr Units, Folder 1 (S). (2) MTP 5-1, 19 Dec 41. 



to work under the harassing conditions of 
warfare there were attacks upon the position 
with simulated artillery fire and tanks, and 
attempted infiltration by night raiders. At 
times the attacks elicited too realistic a re- 
sponse. During one such maneuver, an in- 
dignant staff officer with the enemy force 
reported that some of the defenders wielded 
unsheathed bayonets and that "live Molotov 
Cocktails were used against our tank, cutting 
one P&T officer about the hands and face 
and soaking three officers with gasoline as 
well as spraying the interior of the tank 
with gasoline and glass." 13 Observers not a 
part of the enemy force were sometimes 
captured and lost valuable time being proc- 
essed as prisoners of war. Mistakes were 
inevitable, but this week in the field was 
an invaluable addition to the EUTC pro- 
gram. Officer control steadied. Men gained 
confidence in their unit. The EUTC could 
analyze individual and unit deficiencies and 
modify instruction accordingly. 20 

The center, in the latter part of August 
1942, had just begun to work out its course 
outlines and lesson plans to implement the 
thirteen-week program when SOS dictated 
a compulsory minimum basic military pro- 
gram of four weeks. As a consequence, by 
early September the thirteen-week program 
was not yet in full operation. Lesson plans 
were under preparation, training areas for 
the new tactical and technical subjects were 
not yet developed on the scale needed, and 
training methods had not yet crystallized. 
West Camp Claiborne appeared somewhat 
disorganized and disheveled, but, to the 
credit of the center, morale was undam- 
aged. 21 

Actually, very little training was going on 
in early September, a hiatus between the 
final departure of the early units and the 
organization and filling of the new ones. 

But by the end of 1942 six general service 
regiments and one special service regiment 
were in training under the new program. 
By April 1943 the number had increased to 
ten general service regiments and two spe- 
cial service regiments and by July to thir- 
teen regiments. 22 

Officers for these regiments had to have 
knowledge of construction techniques if the 
units were to function satisfactorily, for little 
combined training was contemplated be- 
tween completion of the formal period of 
unit training and assignment overseas. OCE 
specified that the ideal officer should be a 
man between 35 and 45, physically fit for 
troop duty, and currently working in the 
construction industry, preferably as field 
superintendent or foreman. The Engineers 
wanted men who had bossed construction 
gangs, not topside management or profes- 
sional engineers or architects. Essential was 
the ability to handle labor and a reputation 
for getting the maximum out of machinery 
consistent with its continuous operation. 
Although the Engineers found sufficient 
numbers of superintendents and foremen 
they were unable, even with the help of Dis- 
trict and Division offices, to persuade the 
most capable to volunteer for commissions 
as company grade officers. Many of the 

" Ltr, 2d Lt W. G. White et al., to Tactics Sec, 
18 Jun 43, sub: Bivouac Problem of 393d Engr 
Special Sv Regt. EHD files. 

20 (1) Ibid. (2) Ltr, Tactics Sec EUTC to S-3 
EUTC, 17 Jun 43, sub: Final Rpt on Tech-Tactical 
Problem Given 393d Engr Special Sv Regt. EHD 

31 (1) Ltr, Dir Tng SOS, 28 Aug 42, sub: Basic 
Tng Program. Hq EAC, 353 Tng. (2) Hq SOS, 
Basic Tng Program for All RTCs and Sv Units of 
the Sup and Adm Svs of the SOS, Aug 42. Lewis, 
353, Tng. 

" Prov Orgn of Units, EUTC West Camp Clai- 
borne, 5 Jul 43. EHD file, Monthly Rpts, Clai- 
borne, 1943^44. 



men willing to leave construction jobs at 
this time were second-rate. 23 

The two-week Officer Training School 
(OTS) in basic military training which 
had been started in April 1942 for the newly 
commissioned officers of the original regi- 
ments continued, but on a four-week basis. 
Between July 1942 and January 1943, when 
this course was lengthened to six weeks, 
some 821 officers completed the course be- 
fore being assigned to their units. From 
January to the closing date, 3 July 1943, an 
additional 485 officers graduated. Mean- 
while, in selecting officer candidates for 
schooling at Belvoir the center discovered 
enlisted men in these regiments who were 
just as well qualified for direct commissions 
as the officers currently being received. Ac- 
cordingly, each regiment sent its best quali- 
fied enlisted men to the OTS course where 
they could be observed further. Some could 
be commissioned directly, others went to 
OCS. In addition to more general subjects, 
the course included a few hours in technical 
subjects such as aerial photograph reading 
and motor maintenance. A new class started 
each week, organized as a platoon or a com- 
pany according to the number of students. 
Each student officer rotated through all of 
the positions from private to company com- 
mander in tactical situations in order to 
grasp the duties of each man under his 
future command. After July 1943, in com- 
pliance with ASF policy, all of this training 
was concentrated at the Engineer School. 24 

A much larger task than preparing offi- 
cers to assume command was that of insur- 
ing a sufficient number of enlisted men with 
appropriate skills to fill the noncommis- 
sioned foremen positions and to run the 
heavy construction and earth-moving ma- 
chinery. Like potential officers, such men 
were few and far between until the decline 

of military construction in the United States 
in the spring and early summer of 1943. 
The general run of recruits did not include 
nearly enough men with the proper qualifi- 
cations. By mid-September 1942, when the 
first of the new units began to fill, the need 
for specialists had become acute. Three 
regiments were short a total of 1,564 spe- 
cialists in twenty-one different categories, 
the greatest lack being in construction fore- 
men, electricians, quarrymen, riggers, 
demolitions men, bridge carpenters, jack- 
hammer operators, and general mechanics, 
with lesser shortages of draftsmen, water 
supply engineers, and sheet metal workers. 
To relieve this particular situation, SOS ar- 
ranged with the Recruiting Section, The 
Adjutant General's Office, for a special 
drive during October and November much 
Jike that for the original regiments. As be- 
fore, specified quotas of the various special- 
ists were required of the service commands. 
Contractors furnished names of employees 
who were about to be inducted or about to 
enlist and of former employees already in 
the Army. Division Engineers helped publi- 
cize the need. On 27 November the last of 
these three regiments, activated in August, 
filled to operating strength. 25 

" ( 1 ) Ltr, C of Mil Pers Br to New England 
Div Engr, 6 Nov 42, sub: Assistance in Off Proc. 
210.1, Engrs Corps of. Pt 7. 

" d) Notes re the Hist of the EOC, EUTC, and 
AS FTC, Camp Claiborne, La., 1 Apr 42 to — . 
EHD file, EUTC, Gen. (2) Memo, Asst ExO Tng 
Div ASF for Cs of Svs. 12 Mav 43, sub: Schs for 
Offs at UTCs. EHD file, Spec Tng, EUTC, Heavy 
Shop. 1943-44. 

" (1) Telg, CG PEOC to CofEngrs, 11 Sep 42, 
with 1st Ind, AC of Mil Pers Br to Dir Mil Pers 
SOS, 18 Sep 42. 341.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 1. (2) 
Ltr, AC of Mil Pers Br to CG EUTC, 1 Oct 42, 
sub: Proc of Enl Specs for Direct Asgmt to Camp 
Claiborne, La. Same file. (3) Ltr, AC of Mil Pers 
Br to Great Lakes Div Engr, 27 Nov 42, sub: Proc 
of Specs. 220.3, Engrs Corps of, Pt. 3. 



By November, when it had become clear 
that fillers for future regiments could not be 
expected to have the skills necessary for 
many of the positions, the center began to 
organize specialist courses to train a portion 
of these men while the rest engaged in the 
technical and tactical work that followed 
the basic military program. Since some 
qualified men continued to arrive, the 
center made no comprehensive plans for 
opening courses for all of the specialists in 
the tables of organization. Instead, the 
courses provided instruction for enough 
men to fill out the number of specialists 
found to be short for each unit. Classes 
therefore fluctuated in size unpredictably. 
Courses began and ended according to the 
need for a particular specialist. Some 
courses were offered only a few times to fill 
a temporary shortage. Others were repeated 
for months. The number of weeks for each 
class was kept to an absolute minimum, two 
weeks in some courses, because the trainee 
was meanwhile missing the corresponding 
number of weeks of the regular program. 
In order to get men who would be inter- 
ested, the center sought volunteers to attend 
the courses. But other factors had to be con- 
sidered. As the specialist training program 
progressed, the center recommended that 
unit officers select these men carefully after 
personal interviews and a scanning of rec- 
ords to discover any secondary civilian inter- 
ests approximating the skills needed. An 
AGCT score of 90 or better was desirable. 

Mainly because of the small number of 
administrative personnel, center control 
over these courses lacked uniformity until 
well into 1943. Officers from the Training 
Division, aided by a few enlisted men from 
the headquarters company, taught the first 
courses in addition to their regular duties. 
As the number of courses increased, the 

Training Division drew instructors from the 
officer pool and from units. The inevitable 
result was a constant turnover among in- 
structors as pool officers were assigned to 
units, unit officers left with their organiza- 
tions, and enlisted men were replaced by 
limited service personnel. The Training 
Division could do little more to insure com- 
petent instruction than to pick men who had 
some past qualifying experience. Some 
turned out to be good teachers, others did 
not. Competent or incompetent, the in- 
structors themselves determined course con- 
tent, wrote their own lesson outlines, pro- 
duced their own training aids, and decided 
when tests should be given. The only check 
upon their performance was approval of 
plans and outlines and an occasional inspec- 
tion. Since units had first priority on train- 
ing facilities, it took close co-ordination to 
arrange for specialists to have access to them. 
In an effort to tighten up its control of the 
specialist courses the Training Division in 
February 1943 grouped all the courses 
under the supervision of one officer. Better 
co-ordination with the rest of the EUTC 
resulted. Not until May, after the center 
had acquired a larger administrative staff, 
could officers devote full time to specialist 

By December 1942 the center had begun 
to produce draftsmen and surveyors from its 
own specialist courses. Expert surveyors 
could not be produced in a few weeks, but 
men with some mathematical background 
could be taught to use a transit, level, and 
planetable and qualify as instrument men, 
recorders, chainmen, and rodmen, for rou- 
tine surveying. The course for draftsmen 
concentrated upon lettering, overlaying, 
topographical mapping, construction draw- 
ing, and the use of a slide rule. In January 
1943, additional courses qualified operators 



of power shovels, bulldozers, air compres- 
sors, road graders, earth augers, and rock 
crushers. Other courses trained motor 
mechanics, water supply specialists, machine 
gun crews, and camoufleurs. 

By early 1943 the draft began to reach 
the eighteen-year old level and consequently 
produced fewer men with working experi- 
ence. As the technical ability of fillers con- 
tinued to drop, still other courses had to be 
added. Men selected as riggers learned the 
use of knots and lashings on tripods and gin 
poles, the advantages of simple block and 
tackle combinations, and the proper meth- 
ods of cable splicing. Demolition specialists 
learned to prepare primers, firing caps, and 
explosive charges. Blacksmiths did repair 
work for the center after a short period of 
theoretical instruction in forging, shaping, 
and repair of tools. Mapping specialists 
worked out reconnaissance problems using 
a compass, collected field data such as 
bridge and road capacities and stream vol- 
umes, and transferred the information to 
maps, using the military grid system and the 
conventional signs, measurements, and con- 
touring. The expansion of specialist courses 
was virtually completed by the end of June 
1943. Within the next year over 15,000 
specialists graduated. 26 

The growth of the center and the addi- 
tion of specialist training occurred during 
a time of general equipment shortages. The 
two sets of regimental equipment which the 
center had in July 1942 would not suffice 
for the unit exercises prescribed under the 
new program and for the training of spe- 
cialists. No great quantities of additional 
equipment were at first requested because 
the units were supposed to receive their 
organic equipment upon activation. But the 
fact that these units were not to be rushed 
overseas immediately gave them a low 

priority. Some of the equipment did not 
reach them until after they had left the 
EUTC. The center in October began to ask 
for a pool of organizational equipment 
equivalent to that for six regiments and indi- 
vidual equipment for 8,000 men, but con- 
struction machinery was not requested at 
this time since OCE insisted that these items 
would be supplied to the regiments upon 
activation. The continued growth of the 
EUTC, and the addition in late October 
of training for all engineer equipment com- 
panies soon created a shortage in construc- 
tion machinery as well as in other organiza- 
tional allowances. By the end of February 
1943, adequate unit training in the regi- 
ments had become dependent again upon 
the receipt of organizational sets. During the 
next month, however, there began to be 
some relief as military construction projects 
in the United States began to taper off and 
District Engineers released quantities of used 
equipment. From this source the center built 
up by early summer a pool of 350 pieces of 
equipment, divided about equally between 
the units and the specialist courses. 

A shortage of trucks resulted both from 
the rapid growth of the center and from 
the special issue method by which general 
purpose vehicles were furnished. On 25 No- 
vember 1942, ASF authorized a pool to be 
used in turn by all units in training in order 
to obviate the necessity for issuing general 
purpose vehicles to each unit activated. If 
issues of additional vehicles had kept abreast 
of the growth of the center the system might 
have worked, but by May 1943 there had 
been no further issues. An effort by the 
EUTC to change the basis of issue to a table 

28 Tng Memo, Adj EUTC Camp Claiborne for 
AH Unit Comdrs, 10 Jun 43, sub: Spec Tng of 
Enl Pers. EHD file, Tng Memos, Claiborne, 



of allowances which would have included 
more trucks met with disapproval in March. 
Fortunately, while decision on the table of 
allowances was pending, some AGF regi- 
ments with full equipment were transferred 
from AGF to ASF control and to the cen- 
ter for training. The use of these vehicles 
for the whole EUTC brought about a short 
reprieve. When these units prepared to leave 
in May the shortage again became immi- 
nent. Additional vehicles were at last pro- 
cured in the latter part of that month. Mean- 
while, training exercises had been curtailed 
to conform to the amount of transportation 

The center had so little ponton or other 
emergency bridging equipage that training 
had to be confined almost entirely to fixed 
trestle bridges. As late as April 1943 the 
center still had no Bailey bridges; practically 
none of the unit officers or men had even 
seen one. Additional training in bridging 
had to be given after these units arrived 
overseas. 27 

By spring 1943 the lessons learned from 
the campaign in North Africa had begun to 
shape the training of engineer troops. Al- 
though training service units, the EUTC as 
well as the ERTC's placed greater stress 
upon combat engineer missions. General 
service regiments might well be called upon 
for combat duty. Exercises were stepped up 
to harden the troops physically. Training 
became more realistic. In June 1943 the 
center built a small village of ten houses in 
order to place mine and booby trap instruc- 
tion in a more natural setting, since in actual 
warfare "everything must be examined for 
traps — innocent looking flowers, cabinets, 
books, tables, drawers in dressers, windows, 
doors and even commodes." 28 But a special 
issue of 600 M 1 practice mines had to suffice 
for exercises in mine field laying, and not 

until July 1 943 did the center get a meager 
allowance of six standard mine detectors. 
Enemy mines and mine detectors could not 
be obtained at all. To demonstrate the 
power and tactical use of tanks the center 
borrowed from units at the main camp. 
When these units left Claiborne in late Sep- 
tember 1942, instruction in antitank meas- 
ures lost much of its realism. A request to 
OCE for five tanks and fourteen operators 
to replace this loss resulted in the approval 
on 9 December of two used tanks. The cen- 
ter had to furnish its own operators as best 
it could. Portable radios for co-ordination 
between umpires, inspectors, and units dur- 
ing tactical exercises were borrowed from 
AGF units at Claiborne until June 1943, 
when a special issue of ten radio sets was 
finally authorized. 29 

Toward the end of 1942 the center re- 
ceived 3,543 Ml rifles. Never sufficient to 
go around, the Mi's had to be shifted about 
constantly. The shortage of rifles was com- 
mon to the ERTC's but the ERTC's did not 
suffer under the additional handicap of lack 
of military experience among the officers. 

21 (1) Ltr, O&T Br to CG EUTC, 11 Aug 43, 
sub: Rpt of Inspec Off, with 2d Ind, CG EUTC 
to CG Eighth SvC, 21 Aug 43. 333.1, ASFTC Clai- 
borne. (2) Ltr, ExO EUTC to CofEngrs, 3 May 
43, sub: Vehicle Rqmts, with 1st Ind, O&T Br to 
CG ASF, 13 May 43. 451, ASFTC Claiborne. (3) 
Ltr, ExO EUTC to CofEngrs, 27 Apr 43, sub: 
Request for Special Issue of Equip. 417, ASFTC 

28 Ltr, Obstacle Sec EUTC to American Legion, 
Alexandria, La., 25 Jun "43. EHD file, 353, Misc 
(Index) 1943, Claiborne. 

29 ( 1 ) Ltr, Adj EUTC to CofEngrs, 16 Apr 43, 
sub: Request for Credit of Ord Equip, with 1st 
Ind, 29 Apr 43. 476.1, ASFTC Claiborne. (2) Ltr, 
Adj EUTC to CofEngrs, 15 Jun 43, sub: Request 
for Tng Equip, with 1st Ind, 28 Jun 43. 413.6, 
ASFTC Claiborne. (3) Memo, ExO EUTC for 
CofEngrs, 16 Sep 42, sub: Light and Medium 
Tanks for Obstacle Tng, with 1st Ind, O&T Br to 
CG SOS, 25 Sep 42, with 2d Ind, SOS to CofOrd, 
9 Dec 42. 470.8, ASFTC Claiborne. 



Although SOS required 80 percent rifle 
qualifications, the EUTC in December 
qualified only 61 percent of its white 
trainees as compared with 8 1 percent at the 
ERTC at Belvoir and 73 percent at Wood. 
In an effort to raise the low scores at Clai- 
borne, OCE in February 1943 arranged to 
send twenty-four officers with experience in 
basic military training at the ERTC's, two 
men a month from each center over a period 
of six months. At the same time, OCE se- 
cured ten infantry officers with special train- 
ing in weapons for a temporary assignment 
of six months. Although instruction im- 
proved, the number of qualified men con- 
tinued to be unsatisfactory-. In April 1943 
three general service regiments fell below 
the 50 percent mark mandator.' for any 
unit before assignment overseas. By June 
the center estimated it would take 16,024 
additional Ml rifles and 3,691 carbines to 
bring this instruction up to standard. 30 

While the EUTC increased in size it also 
began to train many different types of units 
besides the general service regiments, special 
service regiments, and dump truck com- 
panies originally planned. Among these 
were nine heavy shop companies scheduled 
for activation during 1942. These units were 
designed to overhaul and reclaim unservice- 
able engineer equipment at a fixed base, fur- 
nish parts, and perform less extensive on- 
the-spot repairs wherever breakdowns 
occurred. Such work required heavy-duty 
fixed equipment for welding and forging, 
power-driven tools for manufacturing ma- 
chined parts, and electrical facilities for 
reconditioning motors and generators. 
Truck-mounted shops were included for 
emergency repairs in rear areas not served 
by maintenance companies. Because sepa- 
rate equipment for so many companies 
could not be obtained before October 1942, 

and the units were scheduled for early ship- 
ment overseas, the Engineers determined 
in late July to consolidate the training of all 
engineer heavy shop companies at Clai- 
borne, and to set up one highly organized 
training installation to be used by all such 
units in rotation as they became active. 

Several other factors besides economy of 
tools and machinery influenced the Engi- 
neers in the choice of Claiborne. Space was 
opening there as the original regiments and 
dump truck companies completed training 
and moved out. Several civilian vocational 
schools were nearby. One highly qualified, 
fully equipped, heavy shop company was al- 
ready in training at the main camp in a 
prefabricated metal engineer shop company 
building. This unit could form a nucleus for 
the training of additional companies. 

The reorganization of this heavy shop 
company into the Heavy Shop Training 
Section of the EUTC began in August 1942. 
Five officers from this company organized 
the section along company lines, with Capt. 
Eugene L. Davis, the commanding officer 
of the original company, at the head of the 
section. His permanent staff consisted of an 
officer for technical training, one for supply, 
one to supervise the manufacturing shop, 
and one to supervise the repair shop. Officers 
from units in training assisted in preparing 
lesson outlines and schedules, and in the 
supervision of work projects and tests. En- 

3a (1 ) Ltr, O&T Br to CG SOS, 12 Jan 43, sub: 
Issue of Bayonets to EUTC. 474.7, ASFTC Clai- 
borne. (2) Memo, Asst ExO Tng Div SOS for 
CofEngrs, 30 Dec 42, sub: Antitank and Anti- 
aircraft Tng of Sv Units. 400.34 (S). (3) Ltr, O&T 
Br to CG EUTC, 5 Feb 43. 210.3, ASFTC Clai- 
borne, Pt. 1. (4) Ltr, Mil Pers Br to CG EUTC, 
24 Feb 43, sub : Temporary Duty Asgmt of Inf 
Offs as Trainers With the SOS. 210.3, Engrs Corps 
of, Pt. 24. (5) Ltr, Adj EUTC to CofEngrs, 28 
Jun 43, sub: Request for Small Arms. 474.1, 
ASFTC Claiborne. 



listed men did the actual instruction. In the 
absence of official provision for such instruc- 
tors, the center selected about forty quali- 
fied men from the first few units, retaining 
them by transfer from one unit to another 
as the companies left the center. This 
method of holding experienced instructors 
was maintained throughout 1 943 to supple- 
ment the ten enlisted men finally author- 
ized. Four civilian master mechanics joined 
the staff in October 1942. By February 1943 
the number of these key civilian instructors 
reached twenty-one. 31 

In the first shop units most of the men 
required only familiarization with military 
procedures and equipment. Fillers for two 
of these units had been experienced main- 
tenance men recruited from the Associated 
Equipment Distributors of Washington, 
D. C, and from the Caterpillar Tractor 
Co. Shop companies formed later had fewer 
skilled men. By February 1943, the Engi- 
neers were getting only one fourth as many 
specialists for these units as they had in the 
beginning, but continuous co-operation 
among manufacturers, the Engineer Field 
Maintenance Office, OCE, and TAG as- 
sured the direct assignment upon induction 
of sufficient skilled men to fill the more re- 
sponsible positions.* 2 

Upon the completion of basic training, 
the heavy shop units transferred to the 
Heavy Shop Training Section, which op- 
erated as a semi-independent organization 
with little EUTC control. After interview- 
ing the men individually and determining 
which company position each could best 
fill, the section staff assigned them to small 
specialist sections. Men destined for manu- 
facturing platoons went into machine shop, 
welding, blacksmith, or carpentry sections. 
Those for repair platoons began to repair 
electrical and nonelectrical instruments, 

small tools, radiators, or heavy equipment. 
All spent five hours in the classroom and 
forty hours in the shop each week. 33 

Although it had been recognized from the 
beginning that some men from these units 
would need specialized training to supple- 
ment civilian skills, it had also been assumed 
that most of this instruction could be given 
within the EUTC. This might have been 
the case had the fillers for the heavy shop 
companies arrived on schedule and with a 
better distribution of skills. But the com- 
panies activated in July, August, and Sep- 
tember 1942 did not fill completely until 
mid-October and the units were supposed to 
move out at a rate of one each month after 
October. The quickest way to train the men 
without waiting for special equipment or for 
service school quotas was to send them di- 
rectly to civilian schools and factories, de- 
spite the reluctance of OCE to circumvent 
War Department policy against duplication 
of facilities. 

In anticipation of this need, Davis made 
a survey of the civilian schools and factories 
near Claiborne in July 1942. He decided 
at that time to use six steel and foundry 
companies at Kansas City, Missouri, for 
heavy machinery training and arranged for 

S1 (1 ) Memo, Engr Fid Maim Off for C of O&T 
Br, 18 Feb 43, sub: Master Mechanics for Camp 
Claiborne Tng Shop. 231.2, Claiborne. (2) Ltr, 
C of O&T Br to CG EUTC, 25 Feb 43, sub: 
Master Mechanics for Camp Claiborne. Same file. 
(3) Ltr, AC of O&T Br to CG Eighth SvC, 5 Oct 
43, sub: Transfer of Master Mechanic Advisers. 
230.36, ASFTC Claiborne. (4) Ltr, Eighth SvC 
to CofEngrs, 11 Nov 43, sub: Transfer of Master 
Mechanic Advisers. Same file. 

B Ltr, Engr Fid Maint Off to O&T Br, 18 Mar 
43, sub: Asgmt of Inductees to Engr Orgns at 
EUTC, Camp Claiborne, La. 220.3, ASFTC Clai- 

31 (1) Ltr, Adj EOC to CofEngrs, 25 Jul 42, sub: 
Status of Tng. 319.1, ASF Engr Units, Pt. 1. (2) 
MTP 5-1, 19 Jun 43. 



this instruction in October at no cost to the 
government. Two vocational schools one at 
Lake Charles, Louisiana, and one at Pas- 
cagoula, Mississippi, provided courses at a 
minimum cost. Some skills, welding for 
one, could be mastered in a week or two, but 
regardless of difficulty, all of these courses 
lasted for eight weeks in order that the time 
might coincide with the technical training 
period of the EUTC. 

By the end of February 1943, when the 
emergency need for these specialists had 
passed, OCE directed that all heavy shop 
technicians be trained thereafter at the 
EUTC or at special service schools. The 
center managed to duplicate most of the 
training of the Kansas City factories by 
doubling the civilian instructors for the sec- 
tion. Ordnance automotive schools sup- 
planted vocational schools in training 
welders, machinists, and mechanics. 8 * 

After eight weeks of technical training, 
thirteen weeks of unit training followed. The 
Heavy Shop Training Section found much 
to criticize in the allocation of hours and 
subjects. Too many hours were allotted to 
demolitions and defense against mechanized 
attack, too much time to motor and rail 
movement, too little to field operations. 
Most of the criticism stemmed from the fact 
that the heavy shop companies operated as 
fixed field installations. As finally worked 
out, the field training provision did not 
mean much more than a continuation of 
manufacturing and repair within the estab- 
lished shops. 35 

Opinions on such "unit" training varied. 
Gorlinski, chief of O&T, admitted in August 
1943 that the heavy shop companies were 
being trained in a "thorough and efficient 
manner" but believed that unit training was 
being neglected "in that the companies 
never function completely as a unit." He 

pointed out that no one company did the 
entire job of overhauling any single tractor. 
One shift or company worked on the ma- 
chine and then turned it over to the next 
shift. 36 One month later the Deputy Direc- 
tor of Military Training for ASF made a 
point of praising this system. "The training 
being given the heavy shop companies was 
excellent and can be considered as real 'unit 
training,' " he reported. "It was conducted 
in shops and with equipment similar to that 
they will be expected to use overseas. The 
shops were operated on three 8 hour shifts, 
each shift being in charge of a separate com- 
pany. The training consisted of base shop 
repair of all types of engineer equipment, 
including a great deal of reclamation and 
manufacture of parts." 37 

During the period March 1942 to June 
1944 the EUTC trained sixteen heavy shop 
companies and activated three more, ap- 
proximately 3,135 men. Meanwhile, the 
services of the Heavy Shop Training Section 
had been broadened to train men from 
other types of units — in March 1943 main- 
tenance companies, and in August a few 
specialists for base equipment and petro- 
leum distribution companies. 38 

34 2d Ind, C of O&T Br to CG EUTC, 6 Nov 42, 
sub: Use of Civilian Manufacturing Plants for the 
Tng of Engr Heavy Shop Co Enl Pers (basic 
missing). 220.66, Pt. 4. 

35 (1) MPT 5-3, 15 Mar 43. (2) Memo, 
Brotherton for Gorlinski, 1 May 43, sub: Com- 
ments on MTP 5-1 and 5-3 by S-3 Sec EUTC. 
353.01, Pt. 1. (3) Ltr, Actg ExO EUTC to 
CofEngrs, 10 May 43, sub: Proposed Plan of Instr 
During MTPs 5-1 and 5-3, with 1st Ind, 5 Jun 
43. 353.01, ASFTC Claiborne. 

36 Ltr, C of O&T Br to CG EUTC, 1 1 Aug 43, 
sub: Rpt of Inspec Off. 333.1, ASFTC Claiborne. 

Si Memo, Deputy Dir Mil Tng ASF for Dir Mil 
Tng ASF. 8 Sep 43, sub: Inspec of Tng Estab at 
the UTC, Camp Claiborne, La. 353, ASFTC Clai- 
borne, Hist of Mil Tng, B ulky. 

18 See |Chapter XVIII | for a full discussion of 
training petroleum distribution units. 



WELDING DREDGE EQUIPMENT, a repair job undertaken by an Engineer heavy 
shop company, Leyte, February 1945. 

The forestry company, another of the maintenance mechanics for the repair of 

small special units which OCE began to vehicles, tools, and machinery and carried 

assign to Claiborne, duplicated civilian lum- its own electrical plant. 39 

ber camps and sawmills. A headquarters Although other national forest areas of- 

platoon for administration, mess, and fered more mature timber, the Engineers 

supply was also the planning section under wished to train these forestry companies at 

the direction of the company commander Claiborne because of the extensive basic mil- 

whose position was that of a sawmill super- itary and tactical training facilities which 

intendent. A logging platoon headed by ex- had been developed there. In early Decem- 

pert timber cruisers made stumpage esti- ber 1942 the Engineers found what they 

mates, felled timber, and hauled the logs to considered an adequate stand of timber 

the mill. There the manufacturing pla- within thirty miles of the camp, and the 

toon milled the logs into boards and beams following month the Department of Agri- 

for building and bridging, sorted and piled culture agreed to release the area subject to 
the lumber at a storage yard, and handled 

all shipments. The company had its own 38 fm 5-5, 11 Oct 43, Engr Troops, pp. 181-86. 



certain restrictions providing for the care of 
young growth and the prevention of forest 

Training began in February 1943 with 
the transfer of the first of these companies 
from the A. P. Hill Military Reservation in 
Virginia. Another company joined the first 
in March and a third in April. In June, the 
first of the forestry battalions was activated 
with one headquarters company and three 
lettered forestry companies. 

After five weeks of basic military training 
these companies began an eight-week pro- 
gram of tactical and technical work fol- 
lowed by thirteen weeks of unit work, with 
198 hours of field operations. By the end of 
July two forestry companies were biv- 
ouacked in the forest area, operating mills 
and logging timber. The center encouraged 
these companies to produce the maximum 
amount of lumber for building and training 
materials and as a result curtailed more 
realistic exercises which should have in- 
cluded frequent dismantling and moving 
of the mills to new locations. Each of the 
two companies then in the field had moved 
only twice in thirteen weeks, an operation 
that took about two days from dismantling 
to resumption of operations. Each company 
hauled the lumber as it was sawed to the 
EUTC lumberyard instead of setting up a 
yard of its own to develop competent stack- 
ers, checkers, and stock clerks. Neither of 
the two companies had run the infiltration 
course or fired the familiarization course 
with its principal weapon, the carbine. Al- 
though fully armed, one of the companies 
was carrying wooden cutouts for both rifle 
and carbine on the excuse that the real 
weapons were difficult to take care of in the 
woods, got dirty, and were liable to be run 
over or otherwise damaged. Further lack of 
realism was apparent in the bunching to- 

gether of the tents both for individual shelter 
and for mess and supply. All of them were 
placed so close to the mills that a bombing 
attack would have destroyed both the mills 
and most of the operators. Mill sites had 
been chosen for optimum working condi- 
tions with litde regard for observation. Lo- 
cations which would have given the troops 
some experience in operating under adverse 
conditions had been passed over on the 
grounds that they would cause difficulties in 

If anything, these units were indeed too 
competent in the production of lumber. 
The timber in the training tract was almost 
exhausted by August 1943 when the com- 
panies of the forestry battalion were sup- 
posed to begin their eight weeks of techni- 
cal instruction. In January 1944 the center 
had to seek a new tract. Through July of 
that year the forestry companies received 
basic military and tactical training at Clai- 
borne and then moved to the Ninth Corps 
Area for technical and practical instruction 
in the mature timber stands of the Rogue 
River National Forest near Camp White, 
Oregon. 40 

From February 1943 to June 1944, fif- 
teen forestry companies or about 2,250 men 
received complete or partial training in 
basic military and technical subjects at Clai- 
borne. All of the units shipped overseas by 
December 1944. The last eight organized 
went to the European theater, joining the 
first such company, which had trained at 

M (1) MTP 5-1, 19 Jun 43. (2) MTP 5-3, 15 
Mar 43. (3) Memo, AC of O&T Br for G of O&T 
Br, 31 Jul 43, sub: Tech Tng Inspec of Dump 
Truck and Forestry Cos at the EUTC Camp Clai- 
borne, La. 353, Engr Dump Truck Units. (4) 1st 
Ind, OCE to CG Eighth SvC, 20 Jan 44, on Ltr, 
12 Jan 44, sub: Tng of Engr Forestry Cos. 353, 
Engr Forestry Units. (5) Ltr, C of WPD to CG 
Ninth SvC, 11 Jul 44, sub: Tech Tng of Engr 
Forestry Cos. 353, Engr Forestry Co (C). 



OVERSEAS SAWMILL operated by men of an Engineer forestry company, 1943. 

Ft. Lewis in 1942. Although these nine com- 
panies exceeded all expectations in lumber 
production, and were indeed competent 
enough to run two sawmills each, they were 
too few to keep up with the requirements 
of the European theater. As many as twenty 
forestry companies could have been em- 
ployed. Consequently, general service regi- 
ments and combat battalions, as well as 
numbers of civilians and prisoners of war, 
had to be enlisted for this work. Although 
the Southwest Pacific Area would have wel- 
comed more forestry companies, the lack of 
these units was not serious because the na- 
ture of the climate and terrain permitted 
many types of improvisations which re- 
quired little or no processed lumber. 41 

By July 1943 the Claiborne EUTC had 
trained and sent out 47,488 men in 85 units, 

including 23 regiments. Most of these units 
were special types for which the Engineers 
secured officers and men with related civil- 
ian backgrounds, gave them only thirteen 
weeks of training, and sent them overseas 
without further joint training. The concen- 
tration at one place of units of this composi- 
tion, needed within a very short time, was 
more effective than would have been the 
case had they been scattered among many 
posts and trained with less supervision. This 

41 Liaison Sec Intel Div, Office of G Engr ETO, 
Hist Rpt 4, Troops, p. 115. AG Special Collection 
Opn Rpts. (2) Final Report of the Chief Engineer, 
European Theater of Operations, 1942-1945 
(Paris: Herve et Fils [1946]), prepared in Office 
of C Engr ETO, 1946, p. 400. (Hereafter cited as 
Final Engr Rpt, ETO.) (3) Information from his- 
torian preparing the volume, The Corps of Engi- 
neers: The War Against Japan. 



advantage, together with the exceptionally 
energetic and determined staff, in the end 
outweighed the equipment shortages, lack 
of sufficient training personnel, uncomfort- 
able and inconvenient living conditions, too 
few fillers with civilian skills, and, in many 
cases, inadequate numbers of fillers. 42 

One of the major criticisms of the center, 
perhaps valid, was that it lacked clear-cut 
lines of control. Schulz had taken excep- 
tional advantage of the abilities of the men 
assigned to him and given varying degrees 

of independence to those at the head of the 
various schools and training sections. To 
ASF representatives, accustomed to looking 
at elaborate organization charts, the result 
was lack of uniformity. To the busy men at 
the center, the system seemed both logical 
and efficient. 

12 ( 1 ) ETJTC West Camp Claiborne Highlights, 
5 Jul 43. EHD file, Monthly Rpts, Claiborne, 
1943-44. (2) Ltr, ExO Mil Tng Div ASF to CG 
Eighth SvC, 28 Oct 43, sub: Camouflage Tng, 
ASF Units. 353, Engr Mil Tng Div ASF. 


A Lengthened Program and Additional 
Centers for Unit Training 

In anticipation of increased needs for con- 
struction and repair, the Engineers pre- 
pared to activate 203 ASF engineer units 
in the third quarter of 1943 — by far the 
greatest number of such activations for any 
three-month period during the war. 1 West 
Camp Claiborne was relieved of much of 
this load by the two new EUTC's at Camp 
Ellis, Illinois, and Camp Sutton, North 
Carolina, both of which operated just long 
enough to carry the excess. Although Clai- 
borne received a greater influx of trainees 
through these numerous activations, the 
strain upon the center was not comparable 
to that of the previous year. The major 
adjustments for the operation of a large 
establishment had already been made. 
Shortages of equipment were no longer 
acute. The decline in military construction 
projects released at last the superior group 
of civilian specialists which the Engineers 
had been trying unsuccessfully to reach 
since the spring of 1942. Moreover, from 
the summer of 1943 until the change-over 
to an ASFTC in May 1944 Claiborne 
trained on successively longer programs. 
This move eliminated some of the urgency, 
and the need to crowd so much informa- 
tion within a very short space of time. 

Planning at higher levels for a lengthened 
training program had begun as early as July 
1942. In January 1943, SOS requested 
OCE to submit by the first of February a 

thirteen-week advanced unit training pro- 
gram for units that had completed the first 
thirteen weeks of training but did not have 
an immediate assignment overseas. The ad- 
vanced program was to be flexible enough 
to fit whatever additional time each unit 
might have, up to thirteen weeks, and was 
to emphasize team training in tactical and 
logistical exercises. At least two weeks were 
to be spent away from camp in practical 
tasks under field conditions, with full or- 
ganizational equipment. By June, OCE had 
also revised the regular thirteen-week pro- 
gram and the center then worked out new 
schedules covering the whole twenty-six- 
week period. The revised program for the 
first thirteen weeks, published on 19 June 
1943, was much more elaborate than the 
preceding one. Although it included a spe- 
cific program for each type of unit with 
varying subjects and hours for each, certain 
basic engineering subjects were included for 
many types of units, no matter how diverse 
their functions. While insisting on the need 
for specialized units, the Engineers remained 
firmly convinced that such units should be 
able to turn to and perform any general en- 
gineer task. Bridging exercises were pre- 
scribed for petroleum distribution com- 
panies, water supply battalions, and forestry 
companies, as well as for other units with a 

1 Unit Tng, Table I. 



more direct need for such training. Some 
knowledge of demolitions, rigging, and the 
use of basic engineer tools and equipment 
was required of all units of whatever type. 

The basic military training period, length- 
ened from four weeks to five, was dominated 
still by rifle marksmanship, 76 hours out of 
the 240. During the sixth through the 
thirteenth week, while specialists attended 
school at the center or at off-post installa- 
tions, nonspecialists completed the revised 
regular program of tactical and technical 
work. Bridge building took up a large 
block of this time for general service regi- 
ments, but less than in the previous program. 
There was a sharp revision downward in 
the amount of time for obstacles, demoli- 
tions, field fortifications, and camouflage 
since part of this instruction was moved into 
the field period. Road building and gen- 
eral construction remained about the same. 
Tactical subjects were concentrated in the 
seventh through the tenth week. The em- 
phasis in the last three weeks was on tech- 
nical engineer work, on fixed and floating 
bridges, roads, and general construction, 
with a few hours in obstacle building and a 
march and bivouac exercise of eight hours. 2 

At the end of the first thirteen weeks all of 
the specialists rejoined their units for what- 
ever additional training time might remain 
before leaving for a port of embarkation. 
During this period, up to thirteen weeks, 
each unit trained as a team, with emphasis 
upon defensive security against attacks, 
night work with motor convoys, practice in 
rail movements to familiarize troops with 
loading procedures, combat tactics in village 
fighting, shooting at moving targets, and in- 
filtration techniques. During the eleventh 
and twelfth weeks, regiments engaged in a 

continuous day and night field operation 
with full equipment on a simulated tactical 
mission, including demolitions and construc- 
tion. These two weeks of field training 
were mandatory for all units. Other por- 
tions of the program could be compressed 
or eliminated as necessary. The last week 
of the program consisted of training tests 
and inspections in preparation for overseas 
movement. 3 

Thirteen regiments, activated at Clai- 
borne between May and September 1943, 
trained on the new longer program. The 
quality of fillers, which had become pro- 
gressively poorer up to this point, took a 
turn for the better as construction firms all 
over the country began to complete their 
contracts with the government. Between 
July 1942 and February 1943 the number 
of civilian employees working for con- 
tractors on military construction projects 
dropped almost 50 percent. As construction 
jobs became increasingly scarce, a part of 
this labor force, which had until now resisted 
the blandishments of the Engineers, became 
much more susceptible. In February 1943 
the Chief of Engineers proposed that at 
least half of the men for the thirteen regi- 
ments be procured from among these work- 
ers by a voluntary induction campaign 
similar to those that had been tried before. 
On 16 March The Adjutant General's 
Office authorized the recruiting. The Engi- 
neers estimated in April that 3,614 men 

2 (1) Ltr, Asst ExO Tng Div SOS to CofEngrs, 
15 Jan 43, sub: Advanced Unit Tng Programs, 
with 1st Ind, 1 Feb 43. 353.01, Pt. 1. (2) Memo, 
Brotherton for Gorlinski, 1 May 43, sub: Comments 
on MTP 5-1 by S-3 Sec EUTC. Same file. (3) 
Ltr, Actg ExO EUTC to CofEngrs, 10 May 43, 
sub: Proposed Plan of Instr During MTPs 5-1 and 
5-3, with 1st Ind, 5 Jun 43. 353.01, ASFTC 
Claiborne. (4) MTP 5-1, 19 Jun 43. 

3 MTP 5-3. 15 Mar 43. 



would be needed each month to fill positions 
in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. 4 

The Corps recognized that this newly 
available group was made up for the most 
part of highly skilled and experienced men 
that contractors had retained as long as 
possible. To insure the fullest accuracy in 
assignment, the Engineers activated the 
361st General Service Regiment at Clai- 
borne in May 1 943 and used it as a receiving 
pool for all voluntary inductees designated 
for ASF and AGF engineer units. In this 
way a temporary surplus of men in any one 
skill could be held for future units instead 
of being wasted in immediate assignments to 
positions for which the individuals had no 
particular aptitude. The EUTC staff inter- 
viewed the men upon arrival, classified 
them, and assigned them in appropriate 
grades in the 361st. Finding that the general 
service regiment had insufficient technician 
grades to hold all the skilled men desired, 
the Engineers soon turned the 361st into the 
more generously endowed special service 
regiment. While in the 361st, the men were 
given basic training, fillers for newly acti- 
vated units being transferred in grade re- 
gardless of how much of this training they 
had completed. Fillers for units that had 
already begun training transferred only after 
completion of the prescribed five weeks. 6 

The vast improvement in the quality of 
enlisted men was not without an ironical 
twist. By early 1944 Col. Earl G. Paules, 
who had commanded the 361st the previous 
summer, observed overseas that many en- 
listed men in the new regiments had superior 
education and more construction experience 
than their officers, who were graduates of 
OCS or the Officers Training School at 
Claiborne. "About all that some of the OCS 
men appeared to have was a High School 
education. They lacked professional knowl- 

edge and aptitude. As regards OTS men, 
too many were 'second raters' in their pro- 
fession and many of them lacked technical 
education. In comparison, many of the en- 
listed men — volunteers and some draftees — 
were Graduate Engineers." 6 Although these 
enlisted men were better qualified for com- 
missions than the "second raters" who had 
volunteered or applied for commissions 
earlier, they entered the regiments at a time 
when OCS quotas were being drastically re- 
duced and the Engineers were channeling 
the small number of commissioned civilians 
into petroleum distribution companies, port 
construction and repair groups, heavy shop 
companies, and forestry companies. 

By the second week of August the 361st 
had received 6,570 white inductees and 
transferred 4,232 of them to units. Of the 
4,232 transferred to units, the Claiborne 
regiments received 2,013, and the regiments 
at the EUTC at Camp Ellis 1,049. The rest 
were better qualified for other types of units 
and were assigned to petroleum distribution 
companies, heavy shop companies, equip- 
ment companies, and base depot companies 
at Claiborne, and to parts supply companies 
at both Claiborne and Ellis. All of the 1 20 

*(1) Min, Staff Conf ASF, 28 Apr 43, sub: 
Resume of Matters Presented at Staff Conf, 1000, 
27 Apr 43. 337, Staff Confs ASF (S). (2) Ltr, 
CofEngrs to CG SOS, 6 Feb 43, sub: Engr Work 
Required Overseas. 322, Engrs Corps of (S). (3) 
Memo, CofEngrs for CG ASF, 14 Apr 43, sub: 
Voluntary Induction for Engrs. 341.3, Engrs Corps 
of, Pt, 1. (4) Stat Table, sub: Number of Civilians 
Employed on Constr Program ... 1 Jul 40 
Through 30 Sep 46. EHD files. 

s (1) Memo cited n. 4 (3). (2) Ltr, CofEngrs 
to CG Eighth SvC, 29 May 43, sub: Asgmt of 
Engr Technicians to New Units of the ASF. 220.3, 
ASFTC Ellis. (3) Ltr, CG EUTC Claiborne to 
ACofEngrs, 7 Jul 43. 320.2, ASFTC Claiborne. 

* Rpt, Col Paules, Engr Member WD Obsvrs Bd 
to CofEngrs, 16 Feb 44, sub: ETO Engr Obsvr's 
Rpt 2. 370.2, ETO (S). 



Negro specialists were absorbed immedi- 
ately into four Negro regiments at Clai- 
borne. 7 

As the quality of fillers improved the num- 
ber of specialist courses declined. Between 
August and October 1943, the center shut 
down its courses in drafting, mapping, sur- 
veying, supply, administration, camouflage, 
chemical warfare, and communications, and 
discontinued specialist instruction for rig- 
gers, electricians, carpenters, and truck 
drivers. Many of the courses were not re- 
sumed until the spring and summer of 1944 
when the quality of fillers again deteriorated. 

A further increase in training time oc- 
curred in the fall of 1943. At the request of 
the War Department, OCE extended the 
initial training program for ERTC's and 
EUTC's from thirteen to seventeen weeks. 
Added to the maximum of thirteen weeks 
in the advanced unit program, this made 
possible a maximum of thirty weeks of train- 
ing in the EUTC's. The seventeen-week 
program, effective for units activated after 
25 September 1943, was divided into a basic 
military period of six weeks, a technical and 
tactical period of eight weeks, and a field 
period of three weeks. The training at Clai- 
borne approached a more reasonable pace 
from this time until the reorganization in 
May 1944 into an ASFTC. 8 

From the inception of centralized train- 
ing for ASF engineer units in the PEOC in 
the spring of 1942 to the end of the EUTC 
period in May 1944, the Claiborne center 
trained and sent out approximately 88,000 
men in over 200 units. Of the 39 regiments, 
15 wer